I love the festival of Eid. For me growing up in Army Cantonments, all festivals were awaited and celebrated with great gusto. Being confused as to which Eid is to be celebrated when I was young, for me it was ‘sewai’ (vermicelli) Eid as I love the way ‘Sewai’ is cooked for Eid. Eid ul Fitr is also known as ‘meethi’ (sweet)Eid. For children, every festival is identified by the different dishes prepared on that day and the gifts they receive. The gifts on Eid are called Eidi. But we need to understand the importance and the reason why the festival is celebrated and the various rituals followed. The kind of discipline and self-control required for even a 12-year-old, to go without a drop of water, in the hot and humid month of June is daunting. Thinking of others before oneself and sharing with others what little you have is something all of us should follow. In today’s day where self-control is lacking, and anger and ego waiting to erupt, we lead our children by example. We are raising children who are growing up to be self-centered as we provide instant gratification. I think this festival, is a very good example of letting the children learn to think of others. We may not follow such stringent rules but making our children aware of these rituals, means sensitizing them about self-control and generosity.
Eid ul Fitr comes after a strict month of rigorous fasting. The month of Ramzan as the fasting period is called, is also a time for prayer and charity, as it is a month of blessing. It is a time when the devout count their blessings and fast in order to feel the pain of those who go hungry. Fasting helps in self-control and cleansing of the body and mind. This sacred month gives a feeling of peace and charity leading to community feeling with fellow believers.
Fasting is strictly followed by everybody over the age of 12. Getting up before dawn they eat a meal as after sunrise eating and drinking are forbidden. The fast is broken at sundown by eating dates and sweet drinks. This is followed by a sumptuous meal. Eid ul Fitr which is on the 17th of July this year 2015 literally means breaking the fast. Everybody wears new clothes, decorate their houses, visit family and friends and distribute Eidi.
The Verses of the Quran were revealed to Prophet Mohammad during this month and it is believed that the gates of heaven are open and those of hell closed during Ramzan. Good deeds are rewarded and this is a time to renew one’s spiritual commitments. In Islam charity is very important and at the end of this month, Muslims are obliged to share and contribute to the mosques.
Eid, a festival of sharing and caring is also about eating sumptuous food. Eid Mubarak.