The first year that we moved here, everyday was depressing because I just wanted to be in SA. Eid though was the hardest, it was so lonely. The few families that we knew didnt really make a big deal out of Eid or even really celebrate it.
Over the years though, things got better. All the South Africans get together in a hall and we celebrate eid and then a few families get together in the evening for Dinner.
Unfortunatly though for Eid-ul Adha, things are pretty sad. No one seems to do much and with the yearly controversies of moonsighting, following Makkah, following Turkey it does break down the spirit.
It made me really sad today to remember the Eid’s of my childhood. It was weeks ahead of time when the preparations started, from Eid Clothes to making sure the freezers were filled. Cousins trying to out do each others clothes to the night before setting of the pots ritual. All the grandkids waited in anticipation for who was going to be chosen as the postman. Ah. let me tell you about the Postman.
The Postman was the person who was chosen by my grandfather to help him give out the Eidy. The Postman was very much like Santa’s lil helper and it truly was an honour to be chosen. You didn’t just get to deliver the envelopes but from weeks ahead of time you got to negotiate the amount that was fair as Eidy for everyone. You had this great responsibility to try and get your grandfather to up the amount for the kids by scheming a lower price for the adults. You also got to choose the chocolates that accompanied each envelope and you got to keep the rest for yourself 🙂
We’d start with a huge family breakfast and then the street would be full of well dressed kids running between each others home carrying plates fo goodies greeting everyone. We’d head off cos we would have to travel an hour away to my uncle’s farm where most of the men already were slaughtering. I would have to sit in the car cos I was a wuss.
Then we’d all head back to my aunt’s house where the kids would be playing, arguing, fighting, comparing who in fact did look the best while the adults got the food ready. We’d all sit down to this huge lunch and stuff our faces until our stomach’s felt like exploding unless you were the Postman. Postman duties started halfway through lunch while everyone was on the table. The cooks got 2 envelopes. The envelope for cooking the food always gets handed out first and was only decided on the day. So the better the food the more money they got. If the amount the kid’s recieved was not up to standard the Postman suffered. None of the kids would talk to you after that. After lunch the women sat around while the men all took a room to have an afternoon nap and the kids hung out. I know my girl cousins would gather in a room also and everyone would make their stolen calls to boyfriends that the parents didn’t know existed. Actually there were even those Eids that we girls had to take long walks so one cousin or the other could see her boyfriend who would have had to make that long trek for a quick Eid Mubaruk in person. There would be lots of giggles.
Late afternoon the tea tables were set and visitors started to come in, bringing meat and presents and we’d all do touch ups on the make up and groan at having to go sit prim and proper in front of the old people.
At night everyone would complain about how full they were and that no one could eat dinner and my aunty would insist we had a long way home and so everyone who couldn’t eat a morsel more ate another full meal.
We’d fall asleep in the car and have to be carried in when we eventually got home around midnight. Im sure we fell asleep with smiles on our faces.
To me, thats what Eid should be like. It’s the memory I still have of Eid in SA and now that I’m here, nine years on, I pine for that type of Eid every year.
We spoke to family in SA yesterday for their Eid and half my uncles were at work and some of them were doing other things and just a few people had got together. It was a sad awakening that Eid in Australia and in SA are the same. It’s not just because Im here I’m not doing that much for Eid it just seems to be the way life has become.
It makes me sad.
I think that we need to revive the spirit of Eid. I think it should be as it was when I was a young girl. We need to go back to those times before we forget why we have such days as today. I’m not sure about having my own kids but If I do, we going to spend Eid the way my grandparents spent Eid. We going to go back to those days that it was special and it was the biggest two days of the year. And next year, Im going to make sure my entire family here can take off work and Im going to prepare ahead of time and make sure we all get together and celebrate.
I hope whatever you have done, you have had a good day and if you havn’t done anything special yet, I hope you make the effort and do something now.