Saudi Arabia/USA – Celebrating Traditions, Building Bridges

setting off neighborhood fireworks from our driveway in Northern Virginia, USA, 04 July 2004

I was in the hospital this past 4th of July on America’s Independence Day or I would have written this particular post earlier.

   Abdullah and I shared and respected both the customs and holidays of each other’s home countries.  I learned that he loved the typical American 4th of July celebration with friends, family, neighborhood block party and fireworks.

While we lived in the USA, it became a tradition that we would host a neighborhood block party for our street.  We lived off of a cul-de-sac on a “pipe stem” which is basically a long wide driveway with a few houses on either side.  It provided privacy and meant that no vehicles came down the pipe stem unless they belonged there.

In hosting the 4th of July block party we would park our own two vehicles in the cul de sac and open our garage to our

Abdullah and neighbor enjoying watching the children play on 04 July 2004                                                                           

neighbors.  We lined the garage walls with long tables where we would set up a buffet with an array of dishes.  In addition to ourselves, neighbors would also bring dishes to share.  We had coolers full of soft drinks or other selections for neighbors to enjoy.  Our grill plus grills of several neighbors would be set up in the driveway and the neighborhood men were in charge of the BBQ delights.  Lawn chairs were set up in the driveway and yard.  Neighbors visited and enjoyed fellowship…and as par t of the tradition, ate too much.

As the sun set the men would set up a fireworks station.  They’d open up the selection of fireworks, have multiple buckets of water handy…just in case and have a specific area where fireworks would be launched and where the spectators would watch and enjoy.  

Abdullah took the greatest pleasure in going to the local fireworks stand with the neighborhood children and letting them select a variety of fireworks.  If the truth be known, he was like a big kid himself with his enjoyment.

When the fireworks were replete and each neighbor returned to their respective homes, Abdullah and I usually would then sit quietly on our deck holding hands and reflecting upon the joy of the day.

This year I watched a display of fireworks from the window of my hospital room.  As I watched them, I easily envisioned Abdullah’s smile and imagined once again holding his hand close to mine.

Abdullah and some of the neighborhood children preparing for the fireworks siesta.  04 July 2004


I’d like to hear from other Saudis who were in the United States during its Independence Day.  What was YOUR experience?

My Desert Boy enjoying the fellowship and the traditions.  04 July 2004

American Bedu having a good time and wearing her favorite shalwar kameez from Pakistan.  04 July 2004


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