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Inside Our Family Majlis
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Inside Our Family Majlis

Inside Our Family Majlis
By Ithraeyat Editorial Team
December 14th, 2023

The majlis – meaning “a place to sit” – has survived the test of time and evolved over the years to remain one of the most cherished and important cultural and social rooms in Arab households.
In 2015, the majlis became immortalized as a  cultural treasure when the UN cultural organization, UNESCO, added it to its Intangible Cultural Heritage register, along with qahwa (Arabic coffee) and Al Razfa traditional dance.
UNESCO described the majlis as “open to all people” and “playing an important role in the transfer of oral heritage”.
Here, we share quirky items that could be found in a family majlis setting, some that may have disappeared with the onset of streaming and mobile phones, but all still remain close to our hearts. 

Board games

Board games and card games like Uno were and remain popular for familiy gatherings. From the oldest to the youngest, board, card and videos games kept us all entertained. 

Inside Our Family Majlis
Days of Tamagotchi

You would find one or two of these lying about the house, especially in the majlis, for the next person to keep this digital pet alive. It is still around, and revived in the same style of the original digital pet we all loved back in the late 1990s. You feed it, clean up after it, take care of it, and it has lots of character (including plenty of attitude) — somewhat like a real pet.

VCR Tapes

Watching old Disney films was such a favorite pastime for so many of us. A family would get together in their majlis to watch The Little Mermaid or The Lion King through rectangular VCR tapes that would sometimes work and other times glitch or lag, but they would always promise good times regardless. 

VCR Tapes
Sunflower Seeds or “Fisfis”

Food is known for bringing people together, but no kind of food did it as well as sunflower seeds or “fusfus.” A group of family members or relatives sitting together in the majlis, eating fusfus, always meant three things: they were in a good mood, they were engaging in fun conversation, and the majlis would need a deep cleaning afterwards. 

Sunflower Seeds or “Fisfis” 
The Letter Game

A notebook and a collection of pens was a common sight in the majlis, especially where there were teenagers or adolescents, but the adults always participated too. The Esm (name), Haywan (animal), Nabat (plant), Jamad (object), Bilad (country) letter game required participants to find words in each of these categories that started with a common singular letter at a time. Whoever would find the words the soonest would win. The letter game was arguably one of the best trivia games of our childhood.

What is found in your own majlis?

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