Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Picnic Season

One of the highlights of the year in Kurdistan is the Picnic Season- that is after March 21st and continues all throughout April. On any Friday morning there is a traffic jam on the main roads outside Erbil leading to the mountains!!

The long line of cars on an early Friday morning-- all out for picnics!!

A young child 'dressed for the occassion'

Spring in Kurdistan is one of the most beautiful times of the year, and it really does bring families and friends together. If you refuse to go to a picnic (as I have realized) on a Friday or even a Saturday then you are definately considered to be‘uncool’. The planning begins the night before where last minute shopping is made in preparation for the next day. The trips can be just after the main checkpoint in Erbil, near the Khanzad Hotel, Shaqlawa or anywhere else in the mountains of Kurdistan. What is most interesting is that often even if it is not the weekend, many people make their way just outside the city

Weapons of yesterday, toys of today!

On the green grass families put out tents, chairs or just a mat. Whether having barbeque, Yapragh (AKA: Dolma) or Bryani the families gather together to have their meal and this is followed by dancing until the sun has set and they pack to go back home.
The sun has set and people still dancing away...

This elderly man sat still for hours, I wished to know what was going through his mind as he looked to the mountains in silence.

Young chidlren from local farms and villages take advantage of the situation and give donkey rides to chidlren with a cost of 1 000 ID.

The region is indeed beautiful during this time of year and the people here make the most out of the natural beauty. The downside of all this is that whilst it is picnic season, this time of year also happens to be STUDY season for students with examinations and deadlines only weeks away.

So if you're planning to visit the region, try to schedule your trip during the 'Picnic Season' because it is an experience like no other!

For all of you happy picnicking, as for me, I guess it is just happy studying!
And they make their way back home...