A desire to help the needy
But when Eid finally comes, it brings with it a bundle of
Unity of the Ummah
These are some of the feelings that begin to arise as the special day makes its grand entrance. Eid ul Fitir is the celebrations that Muslims will be celebrating on Friday September 10 or Saturday September 11 2010, depending on the moon sitting. It’s a day to celebrate the success of fasting for a whole month, a day of achievement and ultimately a day filled with glad tidings. For many living in Ontario, Eid is a day you can take off work and school, sit back, hug, relax, and feast! Or as Noman Hassan, waiting patiently for Eid since he loves Ramadan so much says humbly, “Eid is basically a gift from Allah.” He continues to explain the feelings he has about Eid, “there is excitement in your heart, it’s like you are being rewarded in your heart, and it’s a pretty good feeling, its fun experiencing that with your family.” Noman along with many Muslims believes that Eid is a gift and a blessing that God bestows upon us after we test our own strength for an entire month. In the month of Ramadan we come to understand that we should appreciate everything so as a reward for our urge to better ourselves God grants us this day of happiness. As Fatheen Ali explains, “in Ramadan we get to restrain ourselves from doing many things that you wouldn’t normally do. It’s a month to become pure and appreciate the smaller things. I guess in the end it feels rewarding.” The reward is a day to spend with your loved ones and a day to celebrate your success.
This article is full of snippets of how different people spend their Eid day in Ontario; I thank the people who so generously let me into their lives. Eid is an Arabic word that means festivity and lasts for three days. We, Muslims sure live up to this name because this day is a huge festival which includes new clothes, henna and so much food. Although Eid is a three day festival people usually begin to prepare for it a few days earlier, like Tasneem Lollmohammed, she says that her family starts preparing the food a few days before the actual Eid day, she emphasises that there is so much different types of food.
As preparations usually begin a few days before the actual Eid day, some people post Eid Mubarak signs outside their houses to get the air of celebration looming. Another important component for Eid, which I think many sisters, would agree is henna, sister’s palms are decorated with beautiful and unique designs. For Hina Maheri and most other sisters, “henna is a must” and as Shakira Mohammed adds, “There is something about doing henna on Eid that’s so exciting, it’s something to look forward to. Tasneem tells me that she will be going to her cousin’s house the night before eid to do her henna, the night before Eid is usually called chand raat by some as it is a day to get together with your family, put on henna, chose which clothes one is going to wear, and basically share and create memories. Tasneem diligently says that she will be putting henna on, “Both hands, both sides.” There is something almost magical about putting henna on Eid, for me it sort of feels like a physical representation of the festival, something that represents Eid which we get to carry around to show the festivity. As the henna seeps in our skin, this joy of Eid does to. The henna designs are sometimes flowers blossoming and this shows our happiness and growth of joy and love for this day.
Along with henna, Hina Maheri sheds light to another important matter, “the clothes too, like getting dressed up in the Moring and having breakfast with your family.” It’s a sunnah to wear new or clean clothes and most people try to do their best to fulfill this sunnah as we see the many sorts of beautiful blends of colours. Fatheen Ali says, “I love Eid for many reasons for one because it is very colourful because individuals wear many unique costumes.” Wearing new and clean clothes show our happiness for this blessed day, as we have spent a whole month attempting to purify our hearts this is the time we can show the purification by wearing new clothes and following the Sunnah.
Taneem Lollmohammed continues to tell me quite ecstatically her plans for the big day, along with many Muslims living in Ontario she will “wake up early to go to the mosque to pray Eid prayer.” This is how most people start off their day with prayer, Noman Hassan explains that the Imam gives a khutba (sermon) which is usually triggered towards how to spend the Eid day and how to not waste even a minute of their blessed day. The day starts off wonderfully after the Eid prayer and after that most people get ready to visit their relatives and friends or go out to eat. Fatheen Ali says that from morning till night all he and his family do is visit people’s house and eat different dishes, and so the feast continues till the late hours of the night.
Another wonderful thing which happens when Eid comes around is the presents and Eidy (Eid money) for many this is the highlight of the day. In my house the same tradition holds, my family and I go pray in the morning and when we come home my parents present us with the Eidy with a great big hug. Tasneem really looks forward for this Eidy money because as she jokingly says, “that’s my income for the whole year.” Children usually get money and other various presents like videogames, board games and dolls Fatheen Ali reminisces his childhood and remembers all of the videogames he has accumulated over the years, he says it was sort of like, “Islamified Christmas.” The allusion of Christmas is made because of the many presents he would get as do children on Christmas.
Every family has small traditions that they part take in for Fatheen its waking up super early trying to run into the shower to freshen up for Eid, or its waiting for his grandmother to make, “ mouth watering food.” Or like Tasneem it’s having eid dinner at a specific cousin’s house every year. Or like Hina eating breakfast in the morning with her family. Or like Shakira who is eagerly awaiting to wear her new Eid clothes. Or like Noman who might be feeling a little bit sad that Ramadan is finishing but is at the same time ecstatic about Eid. The fact is that eid brings back memories, brings families together, bring happiness and joy into our lives. It’s like Noman Hassan says, “When it goes by, you miss it.” But let’s savour every moment we can. As Hina Maheri puts it, Eid brings this, “holistic vibrant atmosphere,” to which I add, Eid brings this atmosphere which captures out hearts and for a few days we set aside our worries and really truly feel happy and live. Mussadiq Ashrafali says, “It is compulsory to enjoy this Eid day with family, friends and have the most fun we can by doing things Allah permits, and by remembering His bountiful attributes day in and say out.” This is exactly what Eid is about; thanking God for all of the blessings we have been granted and at the same time enjoying ourselves and taking a break from our busy lives.
For most people living in Ontario Eid is a time to chill, relax, and appreciate the countless blessings we are blessed with, to reunite with your family and relatives something you may not be able to do because of the busy lifestyle. It is a time to laugh, to build memories, to love and be loved, to wear new clothes, to wear bangles, to get a haircut, to be allowed to draw on your hand, to smile, to hug and perhaps most importantly to eat? So if you smile without reason or get excited without really knowing why, just remember you are not going insane. You are just getting ready for Eid.