The sweet joys of Eid

May 24, 2020

Over the past decade or so, our ways of celebrating Eid have changed. What about eidi?

The only festivity anxiously awaited by Muslims around the globe and throughout the year is Eidul Fitr. Though cherished by all, it is women and children who with full spirit begin celebrating it right from Chand Raat.

This festive religious occasion marks the culmination of the month-long practice of cleansing the soul. Eid is truly a reward for those who surrendered to Allah’s commands. Also, it’s an occasion to gift sweetmeat or money to the needy and your loved ones. The much anticipated and sweet tradition where the elders of the households give eidi to the younger members of the family and also the women. Eidi — or eid — is the gesture of goodwill and love given in the form of money, clothes, cards, and other gifts wrapped in envelopes.

Eid and eidi aren’t the same thing, as is generally assumed. The difference is very much embedded in our culture. While eidi is given to the children in the family soon after the Eid prayers, eid is specifically for women — sisters, daughters, daughters-in-law etc. This is usually given by the paterfamilias or older brothers when they pay a visit to their married sisters’ in-laws. In the case of the soon-to-be-married girls, eid comes from her in-laws.

But Eid is a lot more than just an exchange of gifts. It’s a perfect time for large family reunions.

The charm of Eid increases manifold thanks to the ‘adventures’ of the children in the household who succeeded in collecting eidi from all the elders. I remember when I was a child, this used to be quite like scavenger’s hunt. After the Eid namaz, when the elders returned from the mosque, I along with my other younger siblings and cousins, clad in new and shiny clothes, would go straight to our elders and demand our eidi. Our elders, after looking at our long queues, would then distribute an equal amount of crisp currency notes among us. The contentment and satisfaction one got after receiving the eidi was unmatched.

Getting eidi is something the children love to brag about. Having collected substantial amounts, the children get to have the liberty to go to the shops and buy anything of their own choice.

Over the past decade, our ways of celebrating Eid have changed a lot. Earlier, things were more subtle in terms of sharing our gestures of care and love to our dear ones. In the last ashra of Ramazan, the markets and stationary shops would be stacked with printed Eid cards. Going to market and the hustle to find the card that could best convey your feelings had its own heart-warming aesthetic. Multiple factors added on with time: the purchasing power of the buyer increased, and mobile phones came in. Now these goodwill gestures are shared in the form of digital Eid cards. People with memory of paper Eid cards find digital cards impersonal.

The tradition of giving eidi also seems to be fading away. One major reason is definitely inflation. As if that wasn’t enough, we recently saw an outbreak of the coronavirus which has changed the way we’re going to meet and greet one another on this Eid — minus hugs, for sure. But most probably the tradition of sharing love through eidi will be held up.

The writer is a student of BS English at the University of the Punjab

The sweet joys of Eid