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The Magic of Eid

The Magic of Eid

My family celebrates the Muslim holiday Eid al-Fitr, which takes place in June this year—here’s why it’s so special to me.

The sound of laughter echoed through the house as people bustled about, and the faint, delicate twinkling of glass bangles filled the apartment. This day was special, and the weather happened to be absolutely gorgeous. It was warm and the sun was beaming down onto New York City with a few wisps of pink-tinged clouds drifting lazily across the horizon. A couple of birds let out a few clear, sweet notes as if to announce that it was Eid.

My parents, brother, grandfather, and some visiting cousins all sat around the table, cheerfully chatting as they ate the feast my mom had prepared. I noticed a few family members were missing, but they soon joined the merriment not too long after I did. I seated myself in between my younger brother and my cousin, Zoha. We all ate our fill. 

Once my mom was satisfied everyone was full, she started shooing us away to get ready. I put on a white kameez with gold embroidery and small, white, pearly beads over cotton straight pants with silvery-gold trimming. I had styled my long dark hair into loose, silky curls. Zoha sat next to me with her knees crossed wearing a dark green and light pink kameez over black leggings and natural makeup. The male members of my family were dressed in plain shalwar kameez in various shades of blue and black. My aunt and mom emerged from their rooms in outfits similar to Zoha’s and mine. Theirs finished with a necklace and high heels. Then everyone left for the Eid prayer except for the two older women, who stayed back to prepare the food for later. 

As our cab neared the mosque, I could see a throng of people surging through the big gates while calling out Eid greetings and hugging each other. On our way in, we stopped by the donation boxes and my dad paid fitr, which is money the mosque passes on to the poor. Fitr is mandatory because it helps us remember those who have less than us. The head of the family (in my case, my dad) has to give the appropriate amount for all family members, including our caregiver; Eid prayer is not accepted unless you pay fitr before praying.

After dropping the cash into the box, the women separated from the men as we all headed to our allocated sections. I could barely hold on to Zoha as we squeezed through the crowd to get to the prayer area. Women sporting their own cultural clothing in all sorts of colors were talking to each other while young children either clung to their mother’s clothes or happily played with one another. While we waited, we compared the intricate henna designs on our hands until the imam’s voice filled the room through giant speakers. He started off with the call to prayer, the adhan, and then started the actual prayer. Everyone stood up, shoulder to shoulder, all different skin colors, all different ages, but all equal in the eyes of God. Prayer ended with great scrambling as everyone tried to reach their shoes and get out of the way before they got swept up into the tide of people.

When we returned home, we were met by the delicious smells of the food my aunt and mom had made in honor of Eid. After sampling some of these delicious dishes, we visited a few friends and stuffed ourselves with many more yummy treats. We exchanged gifts and greetings as we chatted about what we planned to do with the money we had received from elders throughout the day, and we snapped some pictures to preserve the memory of this Eid.

We finally headed back home to unwind after a long day of visiting and fun. Zoha and I decided to finish a movie we had started watching the previous night and before long the rest of the cousins had joined us too. I sat on the bed sandwiched between Zoha and another one of my cousins, Areeb, with everyone else sprawled on the floor. Looking around, I smiled. To me, this is the magic of Eid: a time to share my joy and excitement with family and friends; a time to celebrate with others, no matter where they’re from or how old they are; a time to bring people together and spread happiness. Happy Eid!

Main image: Farah (in red clothes and glasses) is joined by her brother and cousins for a family photo on Eid.
Courtesy Sahar Husain


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Farah Husain

Author: Farah Husain, 11, attends the Trinity School in Manhattan. She enjoys horseback riding, tennis, and soccer, plays the violin, and is part of the Manhattan Debate League. She also volunteers with the organization Muslim Volunteers for NY. See More

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