Open Minds - Celebrating Eid
Want to embrace living in the UAE? Culture guru Nasif Kayed tells you how...
Eid is coming, Ramadan is over, it went so fast! Nobody knows yet what day it will be yet, but the astronomers are saying Sunday, August 19.
Eid is about celebrating, having fulfilled your duties to the order of God, Allah.
As a community, you’ve done your exercise, fulfilled your practices. It’s like you’ve gone to the gym and exercised two hours a day, after one month you have biceps, you have a six-pack or you’ve lost weight. It’s an accomplishment.
It’s a celebration that everybody feels so good and you have a sense of having achieved something, possibly improving certain elements about yourself.
The practices on that day are about a new beginning. On the morning of Eid, instead of not eating after the crack-of-dawn and morning prayers, when you hear the call to prayer, you should eat to symbolize the end of breaking your fast.
In Dubai you may see places marked Eid Musalla. It’s the gathering place for the special Eid prayers. Everybody, men, women, children, young and old, join together and pray in the outdoor Musallas.
And everybody goes there in their new clothes, their Eid clothes. In the old days when Eid arrived you bought a garment because for the whole year you didn’t shop.
After the prayers there are the visitations.
You start visiting the oldest people in the family first. So I visit my grandfather, grandmother, my in-laws, my uncles, my aunts, second cousins as long as they are connected. It depends on how big your family is - but once we’ve finished that, we take the kids out. The children now know ‘oh my God, it’s time to go’.
We do everything. Skating, Wonderland. It is exhausting because the first couple of days your stomach is upset, you’re not used to eating. Now you’re visiting people, everybody prepares dessert and serves you coffee - soon you’ll be wishing for Ramadan and the fasting again.
If you lost weight you’ll probably gain it.
As for expats, our guests in the UAE, please feel free to join in. Visit your neighbours, bake them a sweet... that would be very nice, visit your friends and colleagues.
You have a couple of days off so get festive and enjoy.
Eid throughout the world, for Muslims and in Muslim countries, should be about celebrating our accomplishments so we actually can practise to be better people.
Let’s try the rest of the year now. It’s not over. We have a new self, hopefully we are born again.
Nasif Kayed is general manager of the Sheikh Mohammed Centre of Cultural Understanding. Every week in 7DAYS he will address topics about culture and life in the UAE. Do you have a question for him? Email email@example.com