It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Eid-al-Fitr is the most exciting time of the year for a Muslim family. It means that you can finally eat during the day and not question your Islamic morals or have others wonder if you’ve been excused from it (girls will understand). By it, I mean fasting. Jokes aside, Eid-al-Fitr follows the Islamic month of Ramadan. It is a month filled with the highest levels of spirituality and closeness to Allah (God). Many Muslims observe fasting during this month to reap the rewards of religious obligations and to practice patience, forgiveness and unity.

Chaand Raat (Moon Night), although not a religious obligation, is a cultural event which is organized by our Muslim community. It is technically the eve of Eid where people celebrate the sighting of the moon which commences Eid. Some people choose to not celebrate this night. Some people choose to celebrate it at home amongst family and close friends and others prefer to make it a big celebration with fireworks, henna, gol gappay and the works.

My father (right) holds a position in the Pakistani-Canadian Association of Windsor (PCA)  and every year he helps organize an event for the eve of Eid and a community Eid Party to follow a week or so after Eid. When I was younger, I used to dread going to these events because it meant talking to aunties and leaving the precious things that I would rather do behind. However, over the years I have come to appreciate the PCA for spending their well-earned money on getting the community together. This sense of community is necessary for us (and especially the youth) because we are a minority in Canada and it is so easy to drift from your cultural identity when you spend all of your days surrounded by Western culture. If we were in Pakistan, Eid would be very different naturally, so I can really appreciate the effort that the PCA puts in to making Eid feel special abroad.

 

Since the event was held at Ciociaro Club in Windsor, we took the opportunity to take some nice pictures. I love this venue from all the venues available in Windsor because it has such a European vibe and it’s very spacious.

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Because the lines were huge for henna, we took the time to roam around the venue and take a few snaps. We had a little fun, no doubt.

 

Shoutout to my best friend’s sister (and my sister’s best friend) Raina, it was her birthday the day before Eid and even though she refused to get ice cream cake, we were happy we got to spend some time with her before things got crazy with Eid festivities.

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Eid Day is usually a very long and exhausting day. But we (my family) do this to ourselves. We want to celebrate Chaand Raat until the very last minute and also want to get up early and not waste any time on Eid day. My family (some of us) are crazy bent on getting up early and going to the first of three Eid prayers. We also must all shower the same morning, so you can imagine, with such a big family and washrooms to share everyone has to be up super early. Unlucky for us, this year we ALL forgot to set an alarm. Thankfully someone woke up an hour before we had to leave and we all rushed and got ready to go for the prayers (hence the tired and irritated faces in the pictures below). Normally, we would spend more time wearing make-up and dressing up in our get-ups, but this year we allowed ourselves to be sloppy for the prayer and convinced ourselves that we would get ready when we returned home.

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The prayers are usually held in large sports arenas available in Windsor. The Muslim community is quite large (believe it or not), and even with three prayers there is always a rush and no place to park or sit comfortably. This is one of the reasons we go to the very first prayer because we do not want to be praying in an over-crowded arena. This year the prayer was held at the Central Park Athletics which is newly expanded and renovated in Windsor. It worked out well until everyone had to leave and the second prayer people began to enter at the same time. Even with Windsor Police directing traffic, it was impossible to get out without a traffic jam.

 

My parents love telling us plans last minute. We usually tend to find out things an hour or two before and are expected to be present for the plan. This was the case on Eid Day as well when they told us about Eid brunch/lunch plans at our dad’s aunt’s house. Following the Eid prayer, we went home, got ready for a second time, and left for our relatives’ house. They were so kind and welcoming and we ate a lot of delicious food (a ton of sweets), talked politics and played with the cutest baby in the world (below) – our cousin Zaha.

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After finally making it home, we took our afternoon (and obligatory) Eid nap. Woke up and got dressed for a third time and relaxed at home. Many calls were made and received from family overseas and most of the day was spent talking to relatives on FaceTime. We somehow worked up the energy to go for a mini photoshoot just before sunset in our neighbourhood, since this was the first time in a couple years that the entire family was together (at once).

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“We aight.” (Smallah)

How was your Eid day? How differently (or similarly) do you spend it?

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