Expats living in Kuwait come across so many different celebrations, words and information. Do you ever wonder what it all means? I would like to introduce a few facts about Kuwait as well as the meaning of some words you hear over and over.
Fun Fact: Mahboula means "crazy lady" in Arabic.
Word Facts: Inshallah is a religious word meaning " God willing", unfortunately expats joke about the word Inshallah as if certain people were using it as a nice way to say no or an excuse to delay situations. No, it is a religious word and shouldn't be taken lightly.
"Wasta" is an infamous word that everyone in Kuwait has experienced. No one is immune to this word which would equal the word "clout". Clout of course means the power to direct, shape or otherwise influence things. With "wasta" anything is possible, that and a roll of 20 kd's.
Annual celebration fact: It's February, the month that includes the Kuwait National Day celebrations which are held on the 25th and 26th of the month. If you've ever wondered about the origins of the celebration? Here are the facts I found:
Before you know about the various celebrations that take place in the National Day in Kuwait, one look must be given towards the History of Kuwait. From the History of Kuwait you will come to know that in 1897, the sheikh of Kuwait sought the protection of the British, for saving him from the grasps of the Turks. Thus Kuwait became a British protectorate and continued to be like that till 1961. In the year 1961, finally the British decided to give complete freedom to the Kuwaitis. Immediately after the British decision, Iraq wanted to gain control over Kuwait. However, their claim was refuted by both the British and the Arab League. Finally, the Kuwaitis claimed to be completely independent on 25th of February, which from that time came to be known as National Day in Kuwait.From 1961, every 25th of February marks the celebration of National Day of Kuwait. It is a holiday in Kuwait and therefore most of the families try to take advantage of that and visit each other on that day. Some, however, prefer to stay at home and celebrate the special occasion of National Day at Kuwait with their family members. However, maximum crowds can be seen infiltrating the roads of the city with flags in their hands. Places like the Messila Beach in Kuwait, Al-Sha'ab Leisure Park in Kuwait, Green Island in Kuwait become crowded with people; both kids and elders alike. Public meetings and get-togethers are organized in various places. All the public buildings and the famous spots of sightseeing in Kuwait are decorated with lights. Nowadays, the famous hotel chains present in Kuwait decorate their buildings with light in the colors of Kuwaiti national flag. As the sun sets, the sky is illuminated with varieties of fireworks. Kuwaitis wearing their national dress celebrate by coming out in the road and spraying colored foam on each other.
My Advice about the National Days: DON'T go anywhere near Salmiya (at night), just stay home! It's safer. You avoid potentially dangerous situations like being sprayed, traffic, people trying to open your car doors and possibly getting into physical alterations with party goers.
Learned Fact: Yes Kuwait is like one big car show. Everyone loves to cruise by you in their Ferrari's and Porches. I've come to learn that sometimes it's just a smoke screen made by guys who want to pick up chicks and will do anything to prove their worth even if it means borrowing a fancy car from a rich friend, renting a fancy car or even financing a car way above their means. On the outside they all look cool and promising that is until you go out with them and over time you learn that they have a nice car but can't afford to put gas in it.
I had a friend who owned a fancy car rental place. He was driving along Gulf street in Salmiya and spotted his Bentley that was rented out. Just for kicks he pulled up next to the renter and asked him about the car as if he was admiring it. The renter smugly told my friend "Oh I just bought it from Dubai", Ha! as if. So ladies beware! The real people who own those pricey cars don't brag and show them off and most of them aren't cruising Gulf street. Sorry to burst your bubble guys but the truth must be told.
Stay tuned for more facts!