The feast after the monthlong fast

October 09, 2007|By AIMAN SIDDIQUI / Pulse Correspondent

I have looked forward to this Saturday, Oct. 13, for weeks. After a month of fasting I am eager to enjoy the day of Eid al-Fitr - one of the two religious celebrations ordained for Muslims. Eid is given by God to Muslims as a reward for the successful completion of Ramadan.

Ramadan takes place during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. During Ramadan, prayers, daytime fasting, charity and self-accountability are emphasized.

On Eid, I jump out of bed around 7 or 8 in the morning, anxious to spend the day in celebration. Since Islam is a very ethnically diverse religion, Muslims all around the world celebrate Eid in their own cultural and traditional ways, which makes it a delightful experience to observe. In my family, we dress up in fancy or very nice clothes and then set out for a gathering and brunch at our mosque, the Islamic Society of Western Maryland southeast of Hagerstown.


The atmosphere is pure and bright. Children play happily. Families exchange presents. There's a feeling of happiness in the air.

We head inside the mosque. Women and men have separate areas to pray, socialize and enjoy desserts that have been set out for them. It is then time for the Eid prayer, a very important prayer which creates even greater unity for the Muslim community to come together.

After the Eid prayer, there is a sermon from the imam or priest that is usually a reminder not to lose the good habits that we gain in Ramadan, such as staying away from abusing drugs, lying and cheating. Then the imam makes a prayer for the betterment of the people around the world, especially for the less fortunate.

Everyone now moves on to the more social part of the holiday, embracing each other and wishing each other peace and happiness. After this time, there are usually parties that take place in different houses of the people in the community. We enjoy the day in a blissful repetition of party after party and present after present, and greet family members and friends flying in from other parts of the world for the special day.

My family is ethnically from Pakistan, so we have many cultural traditions. Girls paint designs on their skin with henna and wear fancy traditional Pakistani clothes. I bought clothes especially for Eid in Pakistan this summer.

After spending the day with my friends, my family gets together all in one place at night and we exchange gifts and sweets.

Finally, at night when I go to bed, I do not lie down before making sure God receives a prayer from me for the people who were not able to have an Eid as joyous as I did - especially children who do not receive new clothes, presents or money, or children who live in war zones and have lost their families or loved ones.

May God make this Eid an Eid of peace for all the children in Darfur, Iraq, Palestine, Israel and all over the world.

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