This week, we’re celebrating Eid Al Fitr – the festival of breaking of fast – a religious holiday that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
I enjoyed Ramadan this year because our family got to spend time with my mother’s side of the family. My uncle came over and stayed for a while with his son, my cousin, which was lovely. Traditionally, Ramadan is a time for spiritual connection, not just with Allah, but also with others in our culture. For me, when Ramadan comes to an end, it’s a bittersweet moment. A part of me is usually happy that our lives can get back to some sort of normality.
This year, having to fast during some of the hottest days of summer and dealing with the longer, hotter days and shorter nights than in some previous years was a challenge. The other part of me misses the family tightness that Ramadan creates. Every year it’s this part of the holy month that makes me nostalgic.
Eid Al Fitr is the extension of Ramadan, when we celebrate the end of our month-long practice with a family gathering and the making of a traditionally Arabian family dinner.
The festival’s customs and tradition require children and adults to dress up for the first day of Eid. It’s a way of celebrating the holy day and welcoming it into our lives.
Also during Eid, children generally go around to the houses in the neighbourhood asking for money. I love the excitement Eid brings to the children around me. I love seeing my nephews and nieces running towards me and asking me for money.
It brings back memories of my childhood, and how me and my siblings would wake up early, dress up, go to say hi to our family and collect our money. I remember my mum saying whoever wakes up first is going to get the most money. So I would set my alarm early and wake up before my older siblings, wear my Eid clothes and wake my mum up.
Unfortunately, I don’t experience the same joy on this occasion that I used to as a child, which is normal, but I do love seeing the sheer joy and happiness on my nephews’ and nieces’ faces. I appreciate it in a different, non-monetary way.
I’m lucky to have been able to have this week off for Eid, which has meant that I have been able to share quality time with my family. I tend to focus on things such as making the most of each Eid celebration, because I’m not sure how many more of these happy occasions I will still get to share with my older relatives. I’m hoping that it will be many, many more, but either way, I’m grateful for each one.
Fawzeya Abdul Rahman works for the Abu Dhabi Government.
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Source: art & life