Eid Mubarak?…Eid Mubarak!
What is Eid?
There are a few times when I miss the old country and my old friends, and Eid is among those times.
Eid in America is bittersweet event; on one hand there are the factionalized Muslim communities who insist on having Eid on at least two different days and sometimes, three. The inevitable and never-ending Moon-sighting controversy where Muslims cannot agree on whether to believe the science that accurately predicts to the minute, when the new moon will show and where or, to believe the old man on a hilltop claiming he saw the moon even as he points to en entirely different direction.
Should we accept the date set in Arabia? after all, that is where the final word on Eid is because that is when Haj is over.
Should we accept a global concept of moon-sighting where if it is sighted at one place, it is sighted all over the world or, should we accept local sightings by OUR religious scholars?
A Rabbi friend of mine told me that Jews addressed this problem (they too, work on the Lunar Calendar)…hundreds of years ago! They decreed that all holidays (except for Yom Kippur) would be observed for one extra day, just to be sure they observed it on the right moon-sighting day. Today, Reform (Liberal) Jews have removed the second day observance because they believe that it is scientifically possible to accurately determine the correct day.
Muslims’ dithering about when are our holy days, is what keeps us from having an actual holiday for Eid; if Muslims cannot agree when to hold their holy days, then how can we get our schools to agree on when the holy days are so they can give our children a holiday?
It never ends; we are doomed to celebrate our holy festivals on two, maybe three, different days. That’s the bitter part…
Sweet are the memories of Eid from Pakistan! The moon would be declared seen and MOST people would celebrate it the next day.
We would start by going to pray in the morning at a nearby mosque, wearing our brand-new clothes, sewn especially for this day. We would then embrace each other and say, “Eid Mubarak” (Blessed holy day), then we would eat a light meal…with Mithai_sweets of course! and then as youngsters, we would be taken by our parents to visit the elders of the clan.
At every stop, we would be offered Mithai Pakistani sweets, made from sugar, milk and clarified butter…we NEVER thought about calories in those days! We would be given some money by our elders as our parents gave money to our hosts children and any other children who happened to be there. We would embrace each other and say, “Eid Mubarak” and sit and chat a while before moving on to another house with more goodies…until we could hardly pack any more Mithai in our tummies (but we still had room for money!).
That was Eid! It was a festive occasion with sharing and REAL joy; we would spend the entire day, travelling form one house to another until we had seen just about everyone and our pockets were full of money…and our parents’ pockets were empty. It was a holiday of holidays.
This does not happen here, we are in America now. We go for prayers to a convention center-type place where thousands of people congregate (which is very nice), but prayers are rushed. Often, the sermons are in Arabic which few people understand so, many just opt to depart right after prayers and before the sermons.
We may spot a friend or two with whom we can share an embrace and a greeting, but then it is to home we go.
With luck, we may have time for a small meal with some traditional sweets found at a local grocery shop and then, for many of us, it is time to go to work!
I miss having Eid in Pakistan!
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