Saturday, December 22, 2007

Eid Can Be Fun, No... Really!

I was watching Little Mosque on the Prairie. I admit - I had given up on the show in the first season - only to fall in love with it in its second season. It's a perfect blend of comedy, satire, poignancy and awareness, all packaged in appropriate sized doses of humour. And the last episode was about Eid and Christmas.

Admit it, Christmas looks great. Decorating the Christmas tree, shopping for gifts, hiding presents, caroling, cookies, family gathering, decorating the house and lighting the streets - it all looks fun. And what do we have for Eid?

I used to remember Eids of my childhood in the Middle East and it was mostly fun. We would have similar activities - waking up early for the morning prayers, chanting "Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Walillahil Hamd!", going around the houses, eating gulab jamun and roshogolla and shaan papri and parathas, wearing the new clothes (I remember as a kid loving the new Eid clothes so much I slept with the shoes next to me), opening the new gifts (the gun that let out smoke was great!) and then on top - Eidi! I mean - free money AND gifts - Eid beats Christmas, or so I thought.

Well, nowadays Eid in the West sucks. I am going to come and say it plainly what Muslims want to shy away from - Eid here sucks. And the fault is mostly of the Muslims.

First of all, not everyone celebrates Eid on the same day. Admit it or not, and don't chalk it up to "diversity of Muslims" - Eid needs to be celebrated on the same day by Muslims in the city. The fault is entirely on (parts of) the community, who want to celebrate Eid in union with their relatives back home. On the other hand you have our some others (hello Babar) who still wants to sight the moon with the naked eye and says no to calculations. So... I just wish we would ALL PICK ONE SYSTEM and stick with it. Whatever it is.

It's no fun calling up someone to say "Eid Mubarak" and they go "Ya? Well good for you I am still fasting!". Immediately you lose half the community there.

Second, it seems Muslims go out of their way to have other stuff on Eid. When this wonderful country gives you a perfect excuse to defer exams, get personal days or other reasons to avoid work and studies, citing "religious reasons", there is NO VALID EXCUSE to have exams on Eid day, or not take off even 2 hours off work for Eid prayers, or have other commitments not Eid related on Eid day.

"Where's Montu?"

"Oh he's at school - he had exams today."

"Montu, why didn't you defer the exams? It's Eid!"

"Oh, I just wanted to get it over with. Besides, Eid sucks anyways."

Third, do you plan on how to make Eid fun?

If you are a kid growing up in the West, how will that kid appreciate Islam when supposedly the most fun thing associated with Islam - Eid - sucks? Anything that has to be fun has to be planned. And Eid has stuff associated with it that is, believe it or not, fun.

If you are a young girl, did you plan a henna party? Call up other girls and arrange to have everyone come over to someone's house and have a henna party. Get some music, get some dance beats, and get it on. No, music is not haraam and it's all girls anyways.

If you are a parent, did you buy new clothes for all your kids? It IS a Eid tradition and yes, it is almost fard. Save some money, and don't say you don't have as it should be part of the budget, but GET SOME NEW CLOTHES for Eid. If you can buy new clothes on Boxing Day you can buy them for Eid day.

If you are a guy what are you doing? If the weather permits you should plan a family or friends day thing. BBQ, games, outing, movies, whatever! Make it a tradition. We had a tradition of a huge cricket game on Eid when we lived in the Middle East (Petrol Pump East versus Electra Road). Ever since we came to Canada it has changed to going bowling with the neighbors in the evening. Traditions change but having fun should not.

Right now our community here always has a Eid dinner on the weekend after Eid - and it's full of cultural programs (Bengali dances, music, songs and of course FOOD), but bottom line - the practises, the cooking (women complain about it but they secretly love it - truthful about most things related to women) - etc. but bottom line, it is fun.

Eid should not just be going to prayers in the morning in a badly organized mosque and then coming home, calling some few relatives and then going to the mall by yourself. Eid should be fun and it's on you to make it so.


Wasaski said...

I agree with you Eid for some communities in the west are not made into fun celebrations and rememberance as they should be,and many people come up with excuses to not even make the prayer! good point.

Huda said...

Agree with you 100%. People who don't take Eid day off bug me to no end -- you don't work Christmas, so why are you working Eid?!?

The town my parents live in usually goes all out for Eid, but not this time... I think because it was on Wednesday and we were kind of all expecting it to be Thursday. There are celebrations planned for this weekend, though!

Eid Mubarak. :-)

'liya said...

I agree with you too, some people make Eid very boring and waaay too serious. I remember my parents always used to go out of their way to make it super fun and buy presents for us when we were kids and have those set out for us on the kitchen table when we woke up. New clothing was a must and so was collecting the beloved Eidi from our uncles. On the way to mosque we'd chant Allahu Akbar together and after mosque we'd head over to my granparents for a huge family gathering. I'm going to do the exact same thing when I have kids one day (Inshallah). If Muslims are lacking that Eid spirit it's because their parents never instilled it in them.

By the way, I went to work this Eid because my students and I had worked very hard to plan an Eid party - it was a great success :D

Shovon said...

LMOTP have matured alot. The acting, the script. The jokes arent that great, but the message is coming across very nicely.

About Eid, what can i say. I have a friend who told me that it hurts to celebrate Eid here in the west, it is a huge contrast to what is done back at home.

And btw, dont go giving off fatwas (on music), you will be held accountable :P

youngMuslimah said...

my eid was really boring, and lonely. it was like everyone in the uae was out having fun and I was stuck at home w/ my books:(

eid ul adha i ssposed to be on the same day everywhere! it's associated with hajj, not the moon. and yet ppl in India had their first day of eid on friday :s

Suroor said...

I have always loved Christmas and I have tried very, very hard every year to make Ramadan and Eids fun for my children. I put up a Ramadan tree and every day we picked one sachet from it that contained a candy and a short lesson on Islam. Its hard work. Yet my kids just love Xmas.

For the past three years we have been celebrating Xmas as well. Yesterday we went to meet Santa and it was awesome :) So, the crux is - I agree with you.

Anonymous said...

Here, here! Before I had kids, we would go to my mom's cousin and have eid dinner at her place and then go take the kid's to woodbine mall for the rides. Now, I have kids of my own, we always go for eid prayers at the CNE, they have bazaar, food and we meet pple we rarely see throughout the year. I buy my kids new clothes, they are still young so alhamdullilah I pick what I like, lol. I also try to go out on the weekend and call it an *Eid* outing. My oldest now gets really excited, I get her a henna cone when I go to the halaal store and just draw some *stuff* on her hands, am not crafty :D but she still likes it which is important. I miss the eids we had home, we got money,gifts and had a funfair for 4 days! Well, it is upto as the parents to create new traditions for our kids(as you mentioned it). Take care and have a happy eid and a good new year. sf

mystic said...

wow !!

Mezba..this is the post, need to be distributed...

Every word you wrote make so much sense and need to be heard.

I will post on my blog...

mezba said...

Wasaki: I know - many people seem to take special pride in missing the Eid prayers, perhaps not knowing it is Wajib. Eid should be fun.

Huda: This is why I think we should follow the calculation method from now on, as mandated by ISNA, especially in the West, so we can plan ahead and stuff.

Liya: At least your work on Eid was Eid related - that's allowed! Eid means fun.

Shovon: haha. Well it's up to each individual to get the maximum out of Eid. The Prophet once said he is like a mirror, each person will see what is actually him in the Prophet. I tend to think of Islam and other Islamic issues as the same.

Young Muslimah: UAE seems more fixated on Christmas than Eid!

Suroor: I have been to the malls in the middle east and so far it looks like they are celebrating Christmas rather than Eid! Everything is Xmas this, Xmas that! Not even one banner for Eid Mubarak.

Sf: Family is a very important part of Eid and it should be.

Mystic: Thanx.

Molly said...

true dat. eid does suck here, it sucks more cuz I don't really have any Muslim family. Its just my husband and I. I'm looking forward to spending an Eid overseas. I did at least take wednesday through friday off from work. So that made it kind of nice.
Still, you're right. Eid sucks in the west.

youngMuslimah said...

oh we do have lots of banners for eid mubarak. But I agree, uae looks more decked up for christmas :(

mousehunter said...

For the past couple Eids we've started our own new tradition. After Eid salat, we head out for breakfast, just the family, but M&M Pancakes....mmmmm. Plus the kids get 3 days off for Eid from school being an Islamic School and all. Then of course lots and lots of toys! We gotta make it fun, who else is gonna do it for us right?

bb_aisha said...

Although we all celebrate Eid on the same day here in South Africa, Eid has lost its spirit. But I attribute it to growing up. I've accepted it's not the same as when we were kids, but when we have kids, that spirit will be revived. It's a cycle.

bb_aisha said...

ps:the extended family still gets together & all the sweetmeats, biscuits & traditional Eid dishes are still made. We all still wear new clothes, do the visiting rounds etc, but the childhood innocence & anticipation is't there

mezba said...

Molly: I think the onus is on us to make sure Eid is not sucky. Mostly it should be about family and friends and relatives, and it will be fun!

YM: Yup.

Mousehunter: Pancakes, mmmmm! How can you not have fun then?

bb_aisha: Perhaps its because we have grown up now.

Humz said...

Totally agree. Here's to reviving EID!!

Anisa S. said...

wow. this post really hit home. my husband and i have been talking about how to start new traditions...because yeah, eid sucks the way it is. we have decided we are going to stop that.

Sumera said...

Eid should be fun, especially for the kids!

Completely forgot about Little Mosque on the Priarie.