When I was younger and back home in Pakistan, everyone would get up early, get showered and dress up in the fanciest clothes of the season; mixed with elegant jewellery and henna on the hands (this applies only to the girls!). Then we would pray the Eid prayers after which the FUN would begin! I used to run around with a small purse with me saying Salaam to everyone as they gave me my ‘Eidhi’. We would then go to our relatives homes where there would be a BIG lunch and dinner (and of course: more Eidhi!). Among the cousins and siblings we would exchange Eid-cards (which, in Pakistan are a BIG thing. And boy, did they have some awesome looking cards!). Eid Day Two and Eid Day Three would be pretty similar, and just as fun.
Now that I’m here in Toronto, I don’t get to spend Eid with my relatives, but instead with my friends and family acquaintances. The morning doings are exactly the same, but then all the family friends gather at someone’s house and once again we indulge in the deliciously cooked foods (including biryani, kebabs, chicken, pasta, custard, kheer, butter chicken, korma, ghulab jamun, kofta, nihari...and the list literally goes on). This past Eid, my friends and I actually skipped another day of school just to have an Eid Party; and it was fantastic.
I’ve heard of some people who don’t go out and celebrate Eid. They go to work or they go to school, they get on with life. My heart goes out to those people, really. Come on, people! If you can sometimes lie and take a sick leave... then why not take a day off from your daily life to celebrate this once a year joy of Eid-ul-Fitr?! It’s definitely worth it, even if it’s just with your immediate family: there is just something really special about the atmosphere of Eid.
Then again, there are some other people who dread this event not because they don’t care, but because of certain limitations. Some parents can’t afford to provide other children with Eidhi or and some students would rather not go through the trouble of writing another make up exam or test (either because it’s a huge process, or not permissible). What I think is that due to the large number of Muslims (speaking of Toronto, in particular) teachers and employers should seriously have some consideration. They all very well know when Eid is approaching, so they should at least try not to make dead-lines, tests or exams close to that date – it shouldn’t make a huge difference in their schedule; a little consideration never hurt anybody.
For the fellow Muslims going through this struggle; InshAllah, you still have Eids Day Two and Three to enjoy!
As for the people who feel their financial life affects their complete participation in Eid: I know that if they don’t give Eidhi they might feel embarrassed, or they may be looked at in an ill manner by the other parents if their kids are not suited in a brand new lahenga or shalwar kameez. But not everyone can easily do everything; I don’t want something like money or gifts to be a reason for anyone to dread such a joyous occasion. I say they should still try and make the best of it: give out a piece of chocolate to the kids – they just want to have “something.” It’s not what you give that matters, but the intention with which you give.
And if anyone should have a problem with the way you celebrate, you may have to learn to ignore it. Only God is fit to judge, in the end. We kids, at least, should reject some of these social/cultural “responsibilities” that threaten to take precedence over our religious lives.
Eid is something that all Muslims worldwide are supposed to enjoy. Young, old, rich, poor, whomever and wherever: every Muslim deserves the right to indulge in these festivities… and they shouldn’t let anything come between that.
So...start getting ready for Eid everyone! Get your jewellery, your clothes, your food list, or your excitement ready (but don’t let it interfere with your Ramadan prayers...because that would be counter productive) and most importantly get your spirit ready!
Eid-Ul-Fitr Mubarak to everyone (in advance)!
(By the Way, the exact date for Eid will depend on the moon, but it could possibly take place on Sunday, September 20th, 2009).