Monday, February 26, 2007

Matar al-kheir

Contrary to Western attitudes toward a rainy day, Arab sentiments range from tolerating it – without complaining – to embracing it. Instead of "rain, rain go away," it's the oft-repeated, "Matar al-kheir" – Good rain.

In the Middle East, where rain is scarce, everyone, from farmers and sheep herders to city dwellers, whose water supply is dependant on rain, notices when it rains and when it doesn't rain when it's supposed to rain.

Rain comes between October and March; the other six months are dry. This year, rain has been thin; as a result, the city cuts off tap water most days by 3:30 p.m., unusually early, especially for winter.

Yesterday it rained. A lot. The people were happy.