Day 7: Friday Juma'ah
Today Ivy and I went to the mosque to attend the Friday Juma'ah at the mosque, and Mr. Tafel caught up with us about halfway through. In total, we were there for over an hour, and it was really cool to watch everyone praying. Today there was a lot more diversity in terms of age groups at the mosque, with the youngest member of the congregation looking to be about 9 years old, and the oldest at a ripe old age of about 90. For the first 30 minutes or so, people were praying as they waited for everyone to trickle in and the Ahong (Imam) to start his sermon. After the Ahong gave the first sermon, and older man stood up and gave one too. The way they do sermons at this mosque is very interesting, because instead of the Ahong finishing the sermon and commencing prayers like they do at most mosques, he opened the floor up for discussion. For around 10 to 20 minutes, I watched the men in the Mosque discuss the sermon and what it meant. Whenever someone had something to say, he would stand up and speak to the congregation. After this, the Ahong performed the call to prayer, and the congregation began their normal daily prayers while the Ahong sung in Arabic. It was very interesting to see this, and I think I would like to see another Juma'ah, but at a different mosque, and then compare the similarities and differences between them.
Once we got back to Yang Zhou Ran, the whole Microcampus group headed out to the San Yue Jie festival in Dali Old Town. We split up into groups of four, with Katie, Natalie, and Grace belonging to my group. The festival grounds were covered with people milling around and food stalls. We walked around for a while just looking at the people and all the stuff that was being sold before heading down towards Foreigner's Street. There we found a lot of restaurants and tourist shops. When we reached a local restaurant, Natalie ordered for us because she was the only one who could read the Chinese. She ordered what she thought was beef, but it was actually cow liver, and I was the only one eating it. It was fun for us to be able to just meander around, and I look forward to more trips to Dali Old Town. Today was a really busy day for me, and I learned a lot in very short period of time.