When Eid comes...

Eid Mubarak everybody. 

Eid is one of the most special occasions in our family. And one of my favorite things about it is the uncertainty. Will it be the 29th or will it be the 30th? That's the question from Day 1. One of my colleagues asked me "how do you deal with it? You can't really make any plans until the last minute. That would never happen in the Western world. Everything would be spelt out and holidays would be decided well in advance." and I said to him "really? Don't you like uncertainty? You are here now. Can you tell me for sure where you will be the next few hours? Will you be able to guarantee me that you will stay healthy the next few days? You can't because that's life. So we deal with uncertainty on a daily basis. And anyway eid is not a matter of life and death. It's just the ending of one month and beginning of another. I can deal with it thank you very much. In fact I even like it."

Everyone has their own favorite Eid moment. Mine is getting up early in the morning, after barely 3 hours of sleep, bathing in the cold water and shivering while getting dressed in brand new clothes. And then rushing to the Eidgah (the special ground where Eid prayers are held) to get there in time for the prayers. We stand to pray on a thin mat through which the coolness of the sand seeps through our feet. Afterwards when the sermon is going on, tiny droplets of water from the tip of my freshly bathed hair falls on to the nape of my neck, making me sneeze continuously.  And as we sit there, the sun slowly creeps out from behind the clouds and shines on our black abayas, warming our bodies as well as our hearts. There are young children running around, basking in the rare chance of being in an open ground filled with sand. After the sermon, there are duas, asking Allah to accept our fasts, forgive our sins, praying for peace for our brothers and sisters in Palestine, Libya, etc. Afterwards, a sea of people troop out. The men wear crisp, new shirts. The women have fresh, dark henna on their hands. Many will be on the phones trying to call their loved ones back home. Several of them will be hugging each other wishing Eid Mubarak. And amid all the mayhem, there will be two groups of people who try to maintain some order- the policemen and cleaners . The policemen patiently wait outside the venue, without praying, keeping vigil to ensure that everything is smooth. Afterwards as everyone piles into their cars, chatting and laughing, they will try to direct the traffic with as little hiccups as possible. The cleaners quietly sweep the road to clear out all the carelessly discarded waste. And as they do, cars honk at them and people beckon them. When they go, the men will lean out, shake hands with them and wish them Eid Mubarak. And when they withdraw their hands, there will be a tiny note of 5, 10 or even 100 quietly crumbled in their fist. Once the cars are gone, all the cleaners will get together and compare their earnings. They will then probably head out to send that extra bit of cash back home. 

And then there are some Eids that are memorable. My dad always tells me about one of his. It was about 30 years ago, back when he was a bachelor living with his friends. During ramadan  he and his roomies would chat with each other for a long time at night. On weekends these chatting sessions would extend till early next morning when they would pray Fajr and go to sleep. After one such Thursday night, on the 29th day of Ramadan, they were getting out of morning prayers to go sleep when the muezzin announced that it was Eid. That year Ramadan lasted only 28 days!!! Needless to say, the guys went around like zombies the whole day...

Have a safe holiday everyone.