I’ve been wondering about this for a while now, but I only thought to ask about it yesterday when I went shopping with a friend of mine. I never understood why, after you buy something here, the cashier always says “Mabrouk!” like you just accomplished something worthy of praise..
So, I asked my friend, “Doesn’t mabrouk mean congratulations? Why would people tell you “congratulations” after you bought something? I just don’t get it..?”
“It’s just one of those sayings in Arabic,” my friend said, “a lot like sahtein and na3iman. I suppose we just like to recognize whenever a person eats, gets a hair cut, and goes shopping!”
(For my non Arabic speakers out there, “sahtein” is equivalent to “bon appetit” and “nai3man” is what people say to recognize when another person has just taken a shower or gotten a hair cut..in english, “nai3man” could be translated to “you look refreshed” or “nice hair cut” or “may you be refreshed” Please please please correct me if any of these translations are wrong!)
“Hmm..” I said, “Sahtein and na3iman both roughly translate into sayings we have in English, but congratulations/mabrouk for buying something new? That’s one I’ll have to get used to.”
Do you ever question some of the Arabic sayings that you use on a day to day basis?
The Arabic language is really so fascinating!