Eid Reflections: A Festival of Fresh Beginnings
A tale of the significance of Eid in a person's life
This year, as Eid draws closer, I'm reminded of a story in the life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Once on an Eid day, as he was walking through the streets after the special prayers, the Prophet spotted a child in old clothes weeping on the sidewalk. He asked the boy what the matter was, who told him that he had lost his father to the war,while his stepfather who did not like him had ordered him out of the house. He was hungry and alone when the whole of Medina was celebrating. The Prophet,who knew the pain of being orphaned from a very young age,pointed at himself and said, "From today, I'm your new father, [my wife] Ayesha your mother and [my daughter] Fatima your sister."
A lot of the beauty of Eid is contained in that story. In the larger spirit of Islam, those fortunate enough to have the good things in life, including companionship, are meant to take care of the less endowed. A festival is not the day to forget and enjoy, but to be reminded of the larger community in which we live.
Eid always gives me the feeling of a fresh beginning, like the turning of a new chapter. The house just bursts into activity, with food being cooked in the day after a whole month, and people coming in every minute. On the day before, everything is dusted and tidied. I keep getting hugs and kisses the whole day, which is always a nice feeling.
Although biriyani must be a ubiquitous dish throughout the world on this day, each land has its own distinct food style in accordance with their cuisines. I have been told that the north Indians have a special liking for the sweet dish of sewaayi, made out of vermicelli, although I haven't seen a lot of that on Eid days in Kerala.
Like all festivals, Eid too is an occasion to meet your friends and relatives, wear new clothes and eat good food. It’s a simple day of joy, magnified through sharing. Over the centuries, Eid has grown richer and louder, but the spirit of community lives on. For me, as the Muslims chant the special musical prayers remembering the greatness of the Lord, the whole day gets transformed into a beautiful and a happy lyrical memory.
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