(Eid ul Adha image courtesy of ‘Times of India’)
Eid in Saudi Arabia meant ..heading back home to Pakistan to celebrate with family, or heading to Makkah or Madinah. Even if friends met up, it was a common affair to be meeting at an eatery for an Eid lunch and then everyone would be heading for a mini-vacation to Dubai or some other country close by. Not much attention was given to the fact that kids need to be reminded of how important Eid is, and they need to learn of the reasons behind its celebration.
Fast forward to our Canadian life, Eid is not always a holiday (mostly!), and nor is the idea of eating outside appealing as a way to celebrate Eid. Rather, now more than ever, it seems important to show our kids that Eid is a happy occasion, and should be celebrated with joy! It makes it easier for the kids to know that Christmas is not the only Happy Holiday in the west.
Celebrating Eid in Canada took some time to develop for us. As a family, it takes time to make new friends in a new land. Sometimes you actually wait for someone to invite you, when you are new! I know it sounds sad, yet I think we all have been there at least once, whoever has left their homeland.
Some ways that we at our home have tried to make Eid a happy occasion for our family:
Start a tradition of Gift-Giving
I, as much as the kids, get fascinated with the concept of gifts on christmas! Why not we revive the concept at our Muslim homes? Even our religion encourages us to give gifts, as a form of showing love and respect. I wrote a post on ‘How we do Eid gifts in our family‘, and surely, would encourage all to make Eid all the more livelier for your family.. be it in Canada or anywhere else in the world!
While it is fun to play ‘guest’ and go somewhere on Eid, in countries like Canada, where help is not always available, I have come to love the concept of Potlucks! The hostess is already opening up her home to you, so taking one dish to prepare is not a burden on anyone. This encourages everyone to volunteer and take turns hosting Eid party, as all the cooking and cleaning does not fall on one person. Don’t forget to be a Gracious Potluck Guest!
Organize Entertainment, Games and Prizes for the kids
While it can be a lot of effort to arrange the Eid Party, making a little more effort to arrange entertainment for kids will surely make the party all the more memorable for the kids. While hosting Eid at my place, we had a magician come and perform for the kids. The games and prizes were also created to keep the kids entertained. The cost was distributed among all families, which I find is a fair way to distribute the cost, yet make all the fun happen. Some examples of games included pass the parcel, and guessing game. Prizes were Cineplex tickets, which honed well with all the ages. Costco is perfect for such a gift purchase.
Games can also be for adults!
Adults enjoy games as much as kids, so don’t ignore them. Some of the games that we have played at our gatherings are:
a. Guess the Phrase:
Prepare a set of folded slips, with fun phrases. We tend to write urdu phrases.
Ask a couple to come to the front. Make one wear headphone with loud music. Give the other one a slip with a phrase that he/she needs to act out. Yes this is close to Charades, but with the concept of loud music playing, creating diversion, plus slips having something like ‘Gol Roti’ written on it, makes the game hilarious! I kid you not, the way couple guess, is enough entertainment!
Once the guessing is done (or not), switch the headphones, and make the other spouse play out what is on the slip.
b. Present a talent:
This is a great opportunity to view talent. Ask friends to prepare something to present. I have seen people recite their poetry, or read a favorite piece from someone else. It does not have to be perfect..just from the heart! My friend presented a piece on ‘Ammi’ which was tear-jerking, and soulful.
I was even amazed at the father-son duo, who presented jokes. Loved the act.
The sweetest act that I have seen, was when all the Aunties stood tall and read our Pakistan’s National Anthem!
Whatever the talent be, it creates a sense of bonding within the group.
c. Pass the parcel:
…or should I say ‘Pass the cushion’. The game was initiated by my friend ‘Lady A’, who knew a lot of us would chicken out (or be plain lazy), and not prepare a talent piece. She had a cushion passed around, which when the music stopped, had the couple selected come up to pick a slip with an act to perform.
I immensely enjoyed the game of ‘Guess the Place’. A truly brilliant game by ‘Lady A’. She dress images, which should give the reader a clue on what is the place.
My own hubby and I, got the immense task of reading ‘Paka Papeeta, Kacha Papeeta’ ten times. I of course gave this task to hubby dearest.
Everyone one is a winner, and prizes like personalized picture frames, candles or crystal jars filled with chocolate, can be given.
These are some of the ways, how we as friends, have tried to make Eid all the more fun for kids and adults alike. What about you? Are you living outside your homeland, and have made efforts to make Eid more fun? Do share in comments below! I would love to read your ideas.