Wishing you a wonderful festive season!
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Welcome to our December edition
Hope this month finds you and yours healthy, happy and ready for an amazing festive season!
Merry Christmas!
Wonderful Winter Solstice!

Happy Hanukkah!
Marvellous Moulid el Naby!

As you may know I (Zara, here on the left) have been spending the last few months in Cairo with my Egyptian family, upgrading my language skills and immersing myself in the culture and re-connecting with the roots of our wonderful dance. I appreciate the differences in the cultures but, phew, sometimes it's hard!

One of the traditional English delights which I love at this time of year is to gather round  the fire, for a good story telling session!

And, since stories are one way of getting to know more about a culture we invite you to pull up a chair and join us in some seasonal fun as we share some stories about Goha/Nasreddin

There's more with news from Mombasa, craft and gift ideas etc so please make sure you open up the full e-zine and enjoy!
The Stories of Goha/Nasreddin 
These stories are a key part of Arab and Turkish culture.

All the countries of the Middle East, many in central Asia and the Uighur community in China like to claim the hero character of these funny, witty, yet thought provoking stories as their own!

Which just goes to show how well loved this popular character and his stories are.

So who is he?
Some people believe he is an imaginary character, while others say he was a real man and present evidence of his birth and his tomb in what is now Turkey. Some say he was a Sufi teacher. Some believe he was a jester in the Caliph's court in Baghdad. Whatever the truth, over the past 800 years, more and more stories have been attributed to him.
Our hero goes under many different names. To the Arabs of the Middle East and North Africa he is Goha (or Joha). To the Turks he is Nasreddin Hoca; Greeks say Nasreddin Hodja (Hoca/Hodja is the title given to a teacher) whilst Iranians, Afghans and some Indians call him Mulla Nasrudin.  Others in India know him as Hoja Kadakal.
The telling of these stories along the Silk Road meant his popularity spread to India and even China where is known as Effendi.

There are of course, as they have been transliterated, many, many different spellings of his name in addition to those given here.
But, why is he so popular?

Whatever people call him, he appears as an innocent or even stupid fool but, of course, the fool turns out to be wise and in the stories he cleverly outwits those who think he is stupid. Often, the stories end with a moral teaching.
The themes of his stories are timeless. In them he is critical of tyranny, selfishness, greed, social conventions and wrong doing - a bit like today's satirical comedians.

The stories, and there are so many of them, can be logical yet illogical at the same time and all of them have a humour which is universal.

Throughout all his ordeals Goha/Nasreddin remains content, grateful and happy - a lesson to us all!

So, Let's Get to Know Some of his Stories!
Goha/Nasreddin Rides His Donkey Backwards
One day Goha/Nasreddin was going out and decided to ride his donkey backwards. "Why are you riding your donkey backwards?" his friends asked.
Goha/Nasreddin replied, “Don’t blame me. It’s actually the donkey who is facing backwards!”
Goha/Nasreddin and the Pot

One day Goha/Nasreddin borrowed a pot from his neighbour. The next day he brought it back with another little pot inside. "That's not mine," said the neighbour.
"Yes, it is," said Goha/Nasreddin. "While your pot was staying with me, it had a baby." The delighted neighbour, laughing at Goha/Nasreddin’s stupidity, took both the pots.
A few weeks later Goha/Nasreddin asked to borrow the pot again. The neighbour agreed, hoping that he would once more receive two pots in return. However, days passed and the pot had not been returned. The neighbour came to demand its return. "I am so sorry," said Goha/Nasreddin. "Your pot became ill and it has passed away."
"Died!" screamed the neighbour. "How can a pot die?"
"Well, they can," said Goha/Nasreddin. "Ever since they've been able to have babies." 
Goha/Nasreddin, His Son and Donkey

Hope you enjoy this video of a very popular Goha/Nasreddin story. It is full of typically Egyptian gestures which I'm sure you'll enjoy:
In this story it doesn't matter who is riding or not riding the donkey, there is always someone ready to criticise.

The moral: 
"There will always be someone who is not pleased with what you are doing.
So work only to please Allah."

Or:  "You can't please all of the people all of the time!"
Updates from Zara Dance 
As you may or may not know Zara Dance has been in Egypt for the past three months but she took a short trip to MOMBASA, KENYA, to dance at an event there
check out the photos and all the goss in her latest blog about the experience.

Want to train with Zara? Details of her next workshop in Gloucestershire 11th March email for more details 
If you love dance you'll love NADA magazine! 

A year's subscription would make a great gift at only £20!
The NADA magazine comes out 3 times a year; is printed on quality paper and is a delight to receive in the mail!

It is aimed at every level of dancer from beginners to professionals. There are perks for members and every edition is packed with fun, entertaining and informative articles and reviews from a wide variety of contributors.  In the next issue (January) Zara writes about haflahs.   
Some Zara's Zouk stocking stuffers to snap up at under £5!
Sagat/zills can be very noisy whilst practising 
maybe you could make some sagat mufflers!?

Shira's great selection of crochet patterns.
a knitting pattern.

And don't forget:
The Snowflake
Spectacular Show

Saturday 10th December 2016
Doors open: 1.30pm   Show:  2-5pm 
At: Reading Universit
y RG6 6UR

Come and meet Zara's Zouk

Wishing you and yours fun, magic, love, and peace
and, of course, all the dances you desire!

Love and Cheers!
Zara and Sandra xx

Copyright © 2016 Zara's Zouk, All rights reserved.

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