Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Day U: Umm al Liban- the Yogurt Lady

This April, I will be participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge, writing about the A to Z of Iraqi Culture. Do give in your own two cents in the comments below and let me know if you have anything to add or something similar to share from your own culture.


In Iraq, it is very common to associate people with a distinct feature by referring to them as the Mother/ Father of that feature. Just like the 'Drum Guy' in Day I is referred to as Abu- al Tabul, which literally means 'Father of the Drum', one of the important elements on the Iraqi streets is Umm al Liban- the Yogurt Lady, or the 'Mother of Yogurt' if you want to literally translate that (Trust me, it doesn't sound as strange in Arabic!)

This is a painting (actually, a picture of a painting hanging in our living-room) of Umm-al-Laban by the artist Khalid Jabar. You can see the distinct house-doors of Baghdad in the background, as well as the head-abaya that women in Iraq wear. In my opinion, the artist has captured very well the average face of an Iraqi woman: typically olive-skinned, big dark-eyed and prominent eyebrows.

A wonderful tribute to the lady who sells refreshing, salty and sour fresh yogurt to the people of her country.



  1. I love yogurt. It's nice and creamy, and you know it's good for you!

  2. I really, really like how many 'distinct' characters there are in Iraqi communities - as in, the drum guy and the yoghurt lady... I donno how to explain why, though. Maybe it adds a sort of homey touch or something.

  3. Love the painting! And I want some yogurt :)

  4. In India the milk lady would sell the Yogurt as well.
    I like the painting. I like the simplicity of the lady too.


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