Thursday, December 20, 2007


Today's image comes to us by way of the Alhambra and is in honor of Idul Adha, which the Times identifies tersely as a Muslim holiday, and alternate side parking is suspended three days for. Idul Adha commemorates the sacrifice of Abraham, which sounds pretty grisly till you remember that Abraham, though willing to sacrifice his son Isaac, did not have to, and sacrificed a ram instead. Abraham turns out to be the common father of three great world religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. I think he also has something to do with existentialism, but I never got very far in Kierkegaard, and "Fear and Trembling," though it may be apt, is not everyone's idea of a holiday sentiment.

Idul Adha (rhymes with Little Lotta) falls on the tenth day of the lunar month, and almost coincides with the winter solstice, but has nothing to do with it. It begins as the Hajj ends and the pilgrims descend from Mt. Arafat. Though ecumenism is not a priority for Muslims, as far as I can tell, and I may risk a fatwa by appropriating their symbol, the ziggurat does look like a Christmas tree. I chose it from a heap of broken tiles in a gift shop at the Alhambra. In real life, it has more green in it: the background is a creamy mint green, and the ziggurat is a dark iridescent brownish blackish bluish green. As soon as Idul Adha is ovah, on the solstice, I am going to bring a live evergreen into my house, according to the ancient yuletide custom, to tide me over till the sun comes back to our hemisphere.

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