It was only when I mentioned the words, "she'll be mourning for forty days" to a westerner and they didn't know what I was talking about did I become aware I'd taken on some of the Gulf/ khleej [KH-lee-jee] thought processes. 

When in mourning the customs between the west and the Gulf are enormous and I'll try to shed some light on the differences; when someone dies in the Gulf, funerals are held on the same day.  Always.  The body is washed, wrapped in a shroud or thin white cloth (perfume can be put over the body if wanted) and then laid in the ground facing Mecca.  Only men will attend the graveyard to bury the body.

Mourning: 3 days

The initial mourning lasts for three days during which time the body is buried and the female family members gather in one house to share their loss, the males will gather in a specified mosque ~this is something I have never understood, or had adequately explained, why when you've lost someone you care for can you not share that grief with your male relatives?~

Mourning: 40 days

On the fourtieth day the family will once again receive visitors and condolences in the house. It is a key time during the mourning process.

Continue reading on White Girl Arab World

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