Eid isn’t boring!

Published: September 2, 2011
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Seeing hands adorned with bangles and henna makes me feel close to my culture PHOTO: AFP

There are two occasions that I anticipate all year round; my birthday and Eid.

This might sound pretty funny but when I was a little girl my sole purpose of gracing our relatives’ doorsteps was drinking Coke. I was addicted to it like a dipsomaniac is to alcohol. I remember sitting on the sofa, impatiently waiting to hear the sound of ice cubes clinking against the glassware. The only thing restraining me used to be my mother’s glare, without which I probably would have rushed to the kitchen to retrieve that glass of Coke myself. Thankfully, the phase passed as I grew up.

Soon, I started dreading visiting my relatives. The visit usually started with friendly greetings and ended with my relatives firing a hundred questions my way like missiles. I sported a rather mutinous expression on my face, with my shoulders set straight and muscles ticking in my jaw furiously as the neighborhood busybodies entertained themselves by grilling me senseless. These visits used to leave me feeling exasperated, but I was helpless at the hands of propriety.

Each one of us has suffered from a similar experience at least once in our lifetimes.

The unrelenting questions usually start with:

Itni barhi ho gae ho?” (You have grown so big)

No, I decided stay four for the rest of my life.

The inadvertent end of this line of questioning usually comes with:

“My son got straight As in his O/A Levels. He’s studying on a scholarship. What about you?”

And suddenly, everyone’s attention is fixed on you while you squirm in your seat.

However, are these annoying questions a reason enough to dislike Eid?

An acquaintance of mine once described Eid as being an, “occasion on which we hardly celebrate our faith in God anymore.”

She went on to relate Eid with lazing around and devouring an immodest amount of food. Another friend with a natural proclivity to exaggerate went as far as to say that Christmas seemed a much more dazzling affair than Eid. How can the prospect of Santa Claus be more intriguing that receiving Eidi?

Does having to wake up early on one day give us the right to declare Eid boring and tedious?

This is where my opinion diverges with others. On the evening of the 29th of Ramazan, you’d find me glued to the TV anxiously waiting for the big news, which usually leaves me feeling invigorated and exhilarated. There is something about Eid which makes me feel like a child who has just been handed a boxful of Galaxy Minstrels. Women clad in traditional shalwar kamees, their hands adorned with bangles and henna makes me feel so close to my culture. Somehow, Eid brings out the inner child in me; it makes me want to chant Eid Mubarak at the top of my lungs.

However, for me, Eid is not only about the decadent delicacies, interfering relatives, or new and expensive clothes. It is more about the smile on an orphan’s face when gifted with a loving embrace; it is about their joy, reflected in the way they skip and swirl around their surroundings, clearly relishing the new clothes they are wearing; It’s about the tears that gather in a mother’s eye when her offspring visit her in an old-age home. For me, the icing on the cake is the sight of innumerable people prostrating before Allah in the Badshahi Mosque, on the first day of Eid.

Eid is not only just a happy occasion that binds all the Muslims of the world together. It brings back the memories of the 2005 earthquake and the 2010 floods, when all us Pakistani’s stood united and fought against the trials of life with valor. Eid brings back hope that Pakistan will get through the tumultuous years lying ahead. Eid gives us the strength and hope. How can we then call it a drab when we have so much to look forward to?

Eid Mubarak!

amna.sultan

Amna Sultan

A second year A level student studying at Lahore Grammar School.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • njln

    haha binds all muslims hahaha, they cant do eid at one single day, how does it bind the muslims?Recommend

  • http://www,pakistani-revival.blogspot.com Ovais

    The beauty of islam lies in Eid .. which religion will ask its followers to give Sadqah Fitr before going for prayers..
    which religion would ask to hug the unknown guy standing to next to u in prayer irrespective of his ethnicity.
    Islam is great but unfortunately muslims are not .Recommend

  • Imran Agha

    Khaleej Times In a recent post on EID holidays called EID and I quote “Is an Arabic tradation…”.

    If they think of it as their tradation and not a Islamic tradation then why should the non-Arabs celebrate it. I wonder if they think the same for Islam?Recommend

  • Shaharyar

    This blog brought back memories from childhood, but on the downside it is unnecessarily verbose. Nonetheless, enjoyed reading it!Recommend

  • Annie

    @njln:Ever felt that close connection with a fellow Muslim on Eid.No? Well, then you won’t understand the meaning of the word bonding. Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/noman.ansari Noman Ansari

    Your coke anecdote made me smile. We are all alike. Sometimes it is good to read about silly stuff like that and realize, “Hey, I wasn’t the only doofus with a coca-cola habit that embarrassed my parents!” :) Recommend

  • Parvez

    Suggest you should come down to earth, plant your feet firmly on the ground, open your eyes and look at the real world around you. Dreaming is good but only for a short time.Recommend

  • NFI

    @Imran Agha: T’is their ignorance then…

    A refreshing read!Recommend

  • http://twitter.com/#!/nadia_zaki Nadia Zaki

    I don’t see why you needed to compare Eid with Christmas. If Eid is a religious festival, so is Christmas. If muslims get Eidi on Eid, Christians get Gifts, I’m sure the later experience is equally enthralling as the former. Recommend

  • Shayat

    Haha what a fun read!

    @ Pervez – are you alright? It’s just an article about Eid. There are not many things left for us Pakistanis to celebrate. We all know how messed up things are in our country which consequently affects our lives. But that does not mean we have to criticize every good thing that comes our way. What did you want to do? Wear black clothes and stay locked in a room all day? Do that on the next Eid. But if someone writes something  about the few things that are still normal and give a sense of hope and happiness to people, try appreciating it next time. Recommend

  • Parvez

    @Shayat:
    I suppose you’re right. This is a non serious platform targeting a very small audience, my apologies to the author.Recommend

  • Hannie

    @Parvez: Let me ask you – How many of us celebrate Eid the way we should? How many of us help out the orphans and the destitute? Why is it that we prefer brainless entertainment on TV to make our Eids than working better the members of the society? This isn’t a non-serious platform, and it targets the very audience who have the means of making a difference.Recommend

  • Omair

    Nice light article…Recommend

  • http://www.tanzeel.wordpress.com Tanzeel

    Eid is indeed not boring especially the moon sighting game when every Mullah tries to outshine Galileo by claiming moon-sighter and open fires at it to keep it hidden under clouds.Recommend

  • https://twitter.com/#!/fahadk85 Fah

    first day of Eid is usually boring.. coz after Eid Namaz.. and tummy full of food.. feel sleepy and lazy.. day 2 and 3 get better though.. Recommend

  • Parvez

    @Hannie:
    The end product that you see all around you clearly shows something is very wrong.
    You are very right that this audiance has the means what it lacks is the will.
    The author looks at this from a youthful optimistic view point and I from a pessimistic realistic point of view. There is nothing wrong in this.Recommend

  • Amn

    @Fah: Why don’t you try visiting an orphan house or maybe the lesser developed areas of Lahore next time on Eid? That will chase the boredom away. The whole point of the article is to realise that altruism should be a significant part of our lives.Recommend

  • Annie

    @Parvez:
    The problem with us Pakistani’s is that we tend to concentrate on the negative aspect of each and everything. For once, why not adopt a positive attitude and try to bring a change. This country has so much to offer, however we choose to remain oblivious to all the positivity surrounding us.And believe me, this is not only saddening but disheartening too. Recommend

  • Ashhad

    @Imran Agha: Khaleej Times has mainly got Indian writers and editors. It is not representative of mainstream thought within the arab world at all, or in fact of any thought within the arab world. I have many arab christian friends who do not celebrate Eid, and celebrate Christmas. If Eid was thought of as an Arab festival this would obviously not be the case. No Arab considers Islam (or Eid in this case) as being an ‘Arab thing’. This was probably a misrepresentation, due to a lack of cultural awareness, on the part of Khaleej Times writing and editorial staff.Recommend

  • Parvez

    @Annie: I agree that being optimistic and creating a ‘feel good’ moment is nice. What I am trying to express is that one also has to be pragmatic and see things as they actually are and most importantly not to get led into a state of denial, for then you achieve nothing.
    I suppose I do sound negative and critical but that only means that I am deeply concerned about the condition we are in.Recommend

  • https://twitter.com/#!/fahadk85 Fah

    @Amn: hmm good idea…but I live in Doha :), don’t think they have Orphan homes here… Recommend

  • Amn

    @Fah: I am sure there are other means through which you can try your hand at philanthropy.Anything to chase the boredom away.Recommend

  • https://twitter.com/#!/fahadk85 Fah

    @Amn: haha ok.. will do on Bakra Eid :)Recommend