We celebrated Eid-Al-Fitr this past Sunday, which is the Feast of Breaking the Fast.
For 30 days in Ramadan we don’t eat or drink from sunrise to sunset (yes, not even water) and focus on being patient, understanding, and kind. We do this to humble ourselves and appreciate how incredibly fortunate we are. Even if we cannot fast, it’s a month of self improvement and selflessness, and the Eid festival that follows celebrates that we were able to observe the month.
My family’s Eid traditions have changed very little since I was young. My family stays up late the night before cooking a feast, cleaning, and decorating the house. Once everything is done, my mom stays up even later with me so I can put henna on her hands and feet. When I was younger, she used to painstakingly paint it onto my tiny hands, and I love the opportunity to return the favor.
On Eid morning, my mom wakes up at the crack of dawn to prepare even more food, and the rest of us wake up to a decadent breakfast of pastries, rice pudding, samosas, kebabs, and savory hand pies. Even now that I am married and moved out, my husband and I go to eat breakfast at my parents’ house before the prayer.
Everyone puts on their brand new clothes, carefully selected months in advance. Once we’re all put together, my Dad tells everyone how nice they look and insists on a bunch of family photos. Then, we all go to the Eid prayer.
I always love to arrive early to watch Muslims from all over DFW with heritage from all over the world file into the hall in their best clothing. There is always a beautiful array of clothes from every culture in every color, elaborate head dresses, beautiful jewelry, and lots of happy smiles. The babies always steal the show though, in their tiny traditional outfits, tutus and tuxedos. After thousands of people make the prayer in unison, we find our friends to wish them a happy and blessed Eid. Then we go home to feast on everything we’ve been working on for two days, followed by a well-deserved food coma nap.
This holiday has always been incredibly meaningful to me. It’s a day that feels like the prize at the end of a lot of hard work. For baby Raeesa, it meant time to hang out with my favorite people, eat the best food, and collect as much eidi as possible. Even as I get older, Eid is still special – and it’s still a time to collect eidi! But nowadays it’s special because every time we celebrate, I’m appreciating more that this is a day for people of all backgrounds to congregate to celebrate the same thing. It’s heartening to have something that brings so many people together when it seems like everyone and everything is polarized.
Now that I have my own little family to make Eid special for, I really appreciate all the effort that my parents have put in to create traditions and memories for us, especially since we’re oceans away from our extended family. I’m just feeling very thankful today. Wishing everyone a happy and blessed Eid!