Many of us here reminisce about Eid back in Pakistan. All the things that made it special,the festive air of Ramadan, the Eid shopping, the holidays, the excitement around Chaand Raat1 and the Mehndi2 sessions. I remember going to our Nana Nani’s (mom’s parents) place in Lahore or them coming a few days before Eid. I remember waking up every Eid morning and checking my Mehndi first thing to see how much the color had darkened over the night. I remember our typical Eids, from the Eid Milan3 parties that were routine during our time in the PAF bases, the visits to and from my dad's friends, family and the people he worked with. And every Eid day at some point, I remember us complaining about how boring our day was and how we did not want to meet all those people. Thinking back, it feels like that was such a golden time of our lives, when we were together, enjoying the random little things that made Eid exciting in Pakistan. Except for one Eid ul Azha spent with my in-laws 5 years ago, the last Eid I spent with my family back in Pakistan was in 2005!
It's true that you take some things for granted when you live in Pakistan or even in a Muslim country. Our parents probably did not have worry about whether Eid was special for us or not. It just automatically was that. For us living away from our family, and that too in a non-Muslim country, we have to come up with ideas to make it a special occasion for our families and particularly our kids. With no reminders around them about Eid unlike holidays like Christmas, we try to come up with our own little ways to get the kids excited about Eid.
This year since Anya is older, she was able to understand the concept a bit more so I tried to introduce her to Eid in little ways. Towards the end of Ramadan I involved her in buying the Eid cards, and in writing and mailing them. She helped me choose accessories for her Eid clothes and I would lay out her clothes and show her her outfits. She helped me pack gifts for her friends. I also made it a point to involve her in setting up the decorations for our Eid party. When Eid finally came Anya was super excited and it was amazing watching her enjoy the day and the celebrations. For a week after she kept talking about Eid gifts and her Eid shoes and clothes and became an expert at wishing Eid Mubarak4.
I hope and pray for a time when Eid might become a well-known holiday. When we get to see Eid displays and shopping deals as Ramadan nears its end. So its easier for our kids to belong and feel even more a part of their own homeland. Until then we will keep doing our little efforts to make Eid a time of excitement and celebration for our kids.
A great idea for an advent calendar that can be reused for multiple occasions via here
Hanging out with her daddy as we made inserts for our Eid Mubarak cards in Urdu.
I’m trying to go back to greeting cards so sending out Eid Cards two weeks into Ramadan will hopefully becoming a tradition to continue.
Chaand Raat Iftari at my friend’s house. Love how they decorate their front yard with lights every Eid.
The gifts for Anya’s friends, Anya’s gift from us and her Chand Raat/Eid outfits all ready for the big day.
Helping me with our Eid party decorations. More pictures from that for a later post :)
And my favorite part about American Eids, the prayers at the mosque.
How do you get your kids excited about Eid? Would love to hear.
Thanks for reading
1 Chaand Raat is the night before Eid ul Fitr. It is known as Chaand Raat literally Night of the Moon, because the new moon signifies the ending of Ramadan and hence Eid the next day. In most Muslim countries it is a night of celebration and joy spent preparing for Eid the next day in different ways.
2 Mehndi, more famously known as henna is a natural dye used to decorate hands in intricate patterns and is usually done in Pakistan for occasions like weddings and Eids.
3 Eid Milan were Eid parties for families with lots of food and family/kids activities.
4 Eid Mubarak is the tradition way to wish each other a happy Eid. Literally it means Blessed Eid.