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Monday the 7th of November was my first Eid in China. I celebrated with friends by hosting a curry night and feeding 20 people a feast for the occasion!

I visited Niujie Mosque, which was the first mosque I have visited that did not look in my mind like a ‘typical’ mosque!  It was a great to see Beijing’s oldest mosque that was special and unique to China.  It incorporated traditional Chinese architecture to give it a real sense of place.  Elements common to both traditional Chinese and Mosque architecture are courtyards and gardens; within the mosque it creates a sense of serenity.  It was amazing how calm and quiet the courtyards were considering just outside the mosque was a wide 6-lane busy main road.

Mosque’s Minaret within the courtyard.

Mosque’s Minaret within the courtyard.

Narrow walkways connecting the buildings, hiding and revealing what is beyond.

Narrow walkways connecting the buildings, hiding and revealing what is beyond.

Courtyard outside the men’s prayer hall – an area that extends as an external prayer space on Eid.

Courtyard outside the men’s prayer hall – an area that extends as an external prayer space on Eid.

Chinese roofs and detailing mixed with Islamic decorations.

Chinese roofs and detailing mixed with Islamic decorations.

The 11th of November was Singles Day in China, a day celebrated or mourned by the unattached. This day was first celebrated in Nanjing by students in the mid 1990’s and has now turned into a multi-million pound industry that I knew nothing about.  The date was picked because of the solitary digits and the number 1 can mean “bare sticks” in Chinese and refer to Bachelors. This year was especially significant as it fell on 11/11/11, which only happens once every hundred years. It was celebrated across Beijing with parties and in the cinema with females being given even number seats and males allocated odd numbers in an effort to bring people together! Glad I found this out in advance and avoided! When being told about this was the first time I heard ‘Oh my Lady Gaga!’ instead of ‘Oh my God!’

So much I want to share, more coming soon!

B.