Tonight begins the longest fast of the Jewish year, Tisha b'Ab (9th of Av), in memory of the destruction of the two Jewish Temples in Jerusalem. Writing in Harissa, Victor Hayoun reminisces about the customs specific to Tunisian Jewry. To make up for the ban on eating meat in the run-up to the 9th of Av, Jews ate a surfeit of Merguez, the spicy sausage typical of North Africa.
We commonly called this period, in Tunisian Judeo-Arabic, "Agein" or "Ayamet-El-Tkal" [literally: "heavy days"], these were the expressions used by our parents to talk about it. These days were heavy with fear and prohibitions.