MARIA loves to shop and when it comes to Eid shopping, she is prepared to go to every market of the world, if possible. I, her cousin, hardly understand all the fuss about her Eid shopping. Guess I am an average boy whose preparation just consists of a tailored shalwar suit and a pair of shoes.
Maria, on the other hand, is like the millions of girls in our society who love to make elaborate preparations for Eid. Together, she and I, are symbolic of the ways in which the two genders in our society approach the Eid day. Of course there are other characteristics of these respective approaches displayed by both boys and girls, and some of these characteristics overlap and some are different.
The Eid preparations for girls are not just about a new Eid dress and shoes for them. They need to have new jewellery, accessories, handbags, bangles, cosmetics, mehndi and God knows what else! Then, they often have a separate dress for each of the three days of Eid and they then spend considerable time in deciding on what to wear on which day.
They may still be forgiven for all that fuss because, after all, they have to do the bulk of work on Eid by helping their mothers on Eid day in cooking, cleaning, entertaining guests and doing other household chores. But then some lucky girls like Maria don’t have to do household chores as there are servants to handle all the dirty work.
Let us consider the case of the boys too, shall we? Boys, including myself, are generally very concerned with collecting eidi on Eid day. It is not that they are absolutely obsessed with that (and those who do try to pressurise their elders are advised to abstain from indulging in this ill-mannered practice). It is, I guess, just that everyone likes to have more money. But that of course happens after saying the Eid prayers.
Some boys end up sleeping for most of the Eid day because they are too tired and sleepy after hanging out till late on chaand raat. Those who do manage to get a good night’s sleep are mostly not interested in staying indoors at all. They hang out with friends or family the whole day.
But there is no doubt that both genders enjoy the thrill of going out on chaand raat. After all it’s the night of celebration that comes after the long hard days of and before the big day of Eid. On this night, the air is filled with joyous expectancy. Markets are filled with people doing last minute shopping or those out just to have a good time. Traffic is blocked in some areas but not everyone minds that because, after all, everyone is out on the roads having fun.
On the big day, the Eid, having sweet dishes as a part of breakfast is a tradition that no one remembers when and why it started. Whether it’s boys, girls or elders, everyone relishes sheer khurma or sawaiyyan, even it they seldom eat it the rest of the year. It is one of those things that are a little queer but so common that now no one considers it strange.
Meeting, greeting, feasting and playing is what the three days of the Eidul Fitr festival is made up of for everyone. And the eidi that children received (mind you, children are lucky to be on the receiving end of eidi while elders are the ones who end up with empty pockets). Some wise kids don’t spend all their eidi on junk food and drinks and save it to buy a game or sport item that they had been longing for.
Whether you are a boy or a girl, the best way to make the most out of Eid is to celebrate it with your family and friends. For it is only by celebrating together with other people that we can experience the real joy and spirit of Eid.
One more thing that can help you enjoy more on Eid is to help others enjoy it more. Help the poor and the needy (with your parents’ guidance) so that they have more of the things that can help them enjoy the Eid day better.
All these different ways of celebrations are part of the essence of Eid and are essential part of the pleasures that life throws at us. So get hold of them and enjoy them as much as you can, in your own way, whether you are a boy or a girl.
Cheers for a fabulous Eid day!
Disclaimer: The characters in this story are a work of fiction.