Gamou: Celebrating the Birthday of Prophet Muhammad

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As disappointed as I may be during the Magal Touba for not being allowed to
participate by the programme policy, last night was my first chance in
participating in an Islamic celebration of the Gamou. In preparation of the
Gamou, our extended relatives come from Dakar and other parts of the
country to stay with us and as part of the Senegalese Teranga
(Hospitality), we often treat them to delicious foods, more gourmet than
what we would usually have.

It was an opportunity for me to feast, to get know my extended family
members and to learn more about Islam.

Something I had not learned as a Muslim is that the birthday of the prophet
is celebrated at the different time of the year if it was according to the
Gregorian calendar, but to the Muslim calendar, it is usually
celebrated at Rabi’
al-awwal, 12th or 17th. In Senegal, it is celebrated in a particular city;
Tivaouane which is a 30 ride from my town, but again, as part of the
policy, I am not allowed to go there because of safety and security risk of
having too many people around.

My most favorite part of celebrating at home was the dressing up in my
Senegalese costume. While receiving compliments for the way I look, I am
also proud to be part of a family with a tradition and a strong belief. By
making an effort to look like a Senegalese, I have implicitly shown that I
am willing to learn to part with the family and the culture.

After a nice dinner, I asked everyone if possible to have a photo together
in order to capture the memory and it was a nice thing do. At the end of
the photo, everyone clapped with joy despite them not willing to do it in
the first place.