Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Haya Baya

Haya Baya, also spelt Hiya Biya, Haya Biya, or Hiya Baya, but all said in exactly the same way [hay-ya bay-ya] is an annual folk custom, which to the best of my knowledge, takes place across the entire near east, but with variations.

With such strong currents in the Gulf waters and no such things as boat engines it meant, until not long ago, drowning at sea was a very real possibility for fishermen and people travelling by boat. To combat this possiblity the pearl divers started a custom whereby the gave food to the sea, on the eve of Eid al Adha, in the hope the sea would not be hungry and they wouldn't drown during the next year.

The day before Haya Baya you might be lucky enough to see young boys selling small round woven baskets, about the size of a small caserole dish, containing earth and grass. After you've paid the boys some money for a basket or two you should go to the beach and put the basket into the sea.

In 2008 Haya Baya occurs today, Tuesday 9th December.

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