Do they know it’s Eid?

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The month of Ramadan seems to be flying by this year and it will be “Chand Raat” and “Eid” before we even know it. I’m actually quite excited about celebrating Eid this year as I’m planning on going out & about to all the Desi areas in London to celebrate it the British Asian way, which I’m sure will be quite an experience (Yikes!).

Z, a friend of mine in London, has shared some of his sentiments below on the celebrated holiday and he doesn’t seem to be as thrilled I am for some reason.
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They’ve seen it, they’ve seen it. Apparently they (The Committee? The Important People? The Deciders??) , have seen the new moon. So it is officially Chaand Raat – the night of the moon. What makes me laugh though is that these important people are about a hundred years old and probably couldn’t even see the new moon if one was to serve it to them in a plate. But it’s always been traditional to have a huge debate and differing opinions as when it actually is Eid. Twenty-nine fasts or thirty? That is the question. It all gets just about as bad as the whole White Christmas (will it? won’t it?) thing.

As far as I’m concerned Eid is just one big panic attack. Panic to get up in time, panic to be ready in time, panic to get to the mosque in time etc. The mosque is a major event. U could be the King of Sinners but come Eid we all traipse to the mosque in one big group of a happy family.  When I was about seven we loved the trip to Regents Park as straight after our prayers we’d run about all over the place in the sunshine. As we grew older (and lazier) we started frequenting the local mosque in Kingston. That was great as we’d walk there, arrive, check out the mad rush, pace ourselves around the block and then go home and wish everyone a Happy Eid.  I don’t think guilt came into it in those days and hardly anyone ever went to Kingston in those days. However more and more people started opting for the Kinston mosque and then the rest of the day would be touch and go as for some reason unbeknown to myself, Paki uncles always ask you which mosque you attended. “Kingston of course…” we’d reply in harmony. But then they’d ask where we had been stood as they never saw us and we’d be blagging ourselves silly!

This time we ended up in Harrow Market, oops sorry, I mean Mosque. But it was like going to a concert. There was even a queue, of sorts, but the pushing and shoving was worse than any concert I’ve been to. Despite being in his late twenties, my brother still finds it highly amusing when inside and gets the giggles as soon as it all starts. And that’s it, it starts us all off and suddenly trying not to laugh becomes the mission of our lives. We are hot and itchy and trying extremely hard to keep still. But the main man goes on and on and the sajda’s (on your knees, head on the floor position) become longer and longer until the fluff from the carpet is practically in your brain and the cold from the concrete below has risen up to your neck. We are outside as there is no more room indoors – there just has to be a limit as to how many Muslims you can fit inside a mosque afterall – and it’s freeeeeeeezing.

From then on it’s just a one way, scoff your face, street.  I suppose it was originally supposed to be like a sort of treat after a month’s worth of fasting. Even then I’m sure they didn’t stuff themselves silly as we all do. It’s not even as if we’ve starved ourselves in the month just gone. Most people I know (visibly) end up gaining weight by the time it’s Eid. It’s scary. And the whole thing of seeing the same faces but in different houses, what’s that all about? As if once wasn’t enough we are subjected to our uncles and aunties and their (mostly) boring kids over and over like some form of Groundhog’s Day. And soon it’ll be Christmas, but that’s another story…….

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3 comments

  1. Eid namaz in the west is SO different from what its like in Pakistan. Even though I’ve celebrated Eid several times in the states, guys showing up in sherwanis to pray still comes as a surprise. I guess it’s not just that its a sherwani but more about the heavy embroidery and mirror work that would put most grooms to shame.

    A glimpse of the ladies in the parking lot was even more shocking. Lengas and saris with makeup and jewelry for namaaz? I overheard one teenage saying “honey this is the oscars for muslims…here comes the red carpet!”

    I suppose the reason for the difference is that there are a lot more opportunities for Pakistanis living in Pakistan to socialize exclusively with desis and celebrate their unique culture (while showing off their latest apparel).

    As a result, eid namaz in Pakistan is usually very simple (a brief prayer followed by a few hugs with random men that happened to pray by your side).

  2. That is such a precious piece up there OUH. *sigh*
    PK paints a scarier picture though, Yikes!
    When exactly would Eid be in London? Any ideas on the date? It’s my first here and I’m traveling on the 20th to Karachi! Maybe Eid will hit me airborne.

  3. Hi Hushed – I’m not 100% sure but I believe Eid is going to be either on Sunday or Monday. I hope it’s on Sunday since I have the day off as it’s the weekend so I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the religious folks to find the moon on saturday night!

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