It is Eid today, the most festive day in the Muslim calender. Muslims around the world, including North America, are celebrating the day by praying in congregations at mosques, visiting friends and family at homes, and giving charity (fitra) to the poor.
Once again I am away from my family, but this year I have my wife with me to provide a sense of family union on the Eid day. My sister is only a few hundred miles away (instead of several thousand miles), and I have plans to meet several friends tonight for dinner at a local Persian restaurant. The only thing that could make it better is the closeness to parents (mine and L’s) and our siblings.
I spent the entire day at work, pretty much like any other day. Conference calls, meetings, phone calls, visitors, etc etc. same ol’ same ol’. But that is not how the day would go in Pakistan.
I would get up early, shower and dress into my new (typically also starched) shalwar kameez. My mom would serve dates that have been soaked overnight in milk, and give us tea to have before we headed to the mosque for Eid prayer. My father and all of us brothers would walk step in step towards the mosque, reciting a prayer said to have been said by Propher Mohammed on his way to the Hajj ritual. We would pray in a large congregation at the park (mosques would be too full on this day so outside arrangements are made). After the prayer, people would hug each other and forget all their differences, their anger, frustrations and worries. For a few minutes after the Eid prayers, the city feels a sense of peace and tranquility that otherwise escapes it on other days.
We would come home to see my mother, aunt and sister all decked out in their new clothes – colorful, elegant, and something special in their designs for each Eid. My sister would ofcourse be the center of all attention. Not a surprise, given her chamkeelay clothes with all kinds of accessories versus our boring plain shalwar kameezes :).
We would once agian have breakfast together, as a family. Lots of vermicelli dessert (sawaeean), kheer, parathey, anday and chai. We would spend the rest of the morning meeting, greeting and giving gifts to all those who work with us or for us in various capacities. Friends, workers, colleagues, family would visit throughout the day and eventally we would all pile into our car and go out to visit family, especially my grand mother and my uncles and aunts who all seem to live close to each other. That is where we would have a big dinner together and end the day.
I am thinking of each and everyone of them today and wishing them all the most joyous Eid ever. It is my first eid as a married man, and so is for my sister who got married only a few months before I did. So both of us are away from home, celebrating Eid with our spouses. It is not that lonely, but surely it will be nice to be closer to family.
On this day of festivity, celebration and food-galore, I do not want to forget the essence of Ramzan, the month of fasting that just preceded it. The month was all about restraining oneself from the fruits of this world (food, drinks, sex, etc) to enable an appreciate of the needs, wants, and desires of the less privileged in this world. We hope to train ourselves by fasting for one month, so we can be better prepard tof ollow the same principles for the rest of the year. I could not say it better than a poem that was posted by someone on ATP, my second home on the internet. I am pasting it here for you to read. I hope you understand Urdu.
Finally, ATP has done a serie sof posts on Eid. Check them out:
- We started with the advent Ramzan and a post about khajoors (dates).
- We followed it up with something about Ramzan Cricket, a uniquely Pakistani ritual.
- Next was something about Qawalli, which is a staple of PTV Sehri transmissions.
- Shirazi launched us into the Eid mood by writing about Eid Cards.
- We started getting into the mood of things with a post on auspiciousness of Juma-tul-Vida, Diwali and Eid.
- We have had our Eid poetry mehfil going for a few days now and as they say, ‘ab mehfil joosh pay hai.’
- Of course, food is integral to everything; especially Eid… in this case Eid Cakes.
- Eid Mubarak post a little while ago thanking you all for your support and interest.
- Eid is….Fill it in yourself to creat the post for us.
Us bachay ki eid naan janay kaisee ho gee
Jis kee janat nangay paon phirtee hai
Eik chand kay nikalnay say ho gee naan eid apnee
Bharpoor zulmatoon ko mita lain tu eid ho
Ameeron kay liyay har roz roz-e-eid hai
Ghareeb khush hon tu janain ke eid ayee hai
Tankhwah das barhee hai tu mehangai sau ropay
Aisay main khak dosto eid manayaiy hum
Ek lamhe ko main nain tujhay dekha tha
Umr bhar meri nazar main naan jacha eid ka chand
Tujh ko tu har shaam ghadta barhta dekhtay hain
Us ko dekh kay eid karain gay apna aur Islam* hai chand
Perdes main Eid ayee tu kia ho ga yeh dil shaad
Reh reh kay har ek gaam pay aataa hai watan yaad
Phir aaj eid hai apnay watan main hum nafso
Chalo keh hum bhee manayain musaraton ki bahar