Personal Column: Eid al- Adha

Romeeka+Siddiqui+-+Staff+Writer

Romeeka Siddiqui - Staff Writer

There is no place on earth as holy to people as the Kaaba is to Muslims. The Kaaba is in the center of the beautiful city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia and is a place of worship 24 hours a day. Every year, over three million bodies cram together in perfect lines around the giant black cube praying silently. This place is magical. Everybody is there for the same purpose; they are at God’s home. At night the whole place lights up like a palace. It’s the most beautiful sight to see.

These Muslims are performing hajj, a practice mandatory for every Muslim to take part in at least once in their lifetime. Muslims such as myself, celebrate an annual holiday called Eid al- Adha. One of the main purposes of Eid al- Adha is to honor those who have successfully completed Hajj that year. The date changes every time because the Islamic calendar is based off of the moon, not the sun. Different cultures celebrate the holiday in their own unique ways. My parents were originally born in Pakistan, so my family does it the “Pakistani way”.

Eid al- Adha in Pakistan is like Christmas in America. People decorate their houses with lights and flowers, countless mithai (a sweet dessert) shops line the streets, and girls buy colorful bangles to match their intricate clothes. The day before Eid, the distinct smell of Mehdi (henna tattoos) and the sound of the tabla (a Pakistani instrument similar to drums) fill the air. Kids also enjoy a three- day break from school to celebrate Eid with their families.

I got to experience Eid in Pakistan only once in my life, when I was about eight years old; I don’t remember everything clearly, but I have pictures. As beautiful and fun it is in Pakistan, it’s a very different experience in America. For one, it’s not considered a national holiday so sometimes we have to skip school if Eid al- Adha happens to fall on a weekday. It’s universal to attend a special Eid prayer with family in the morning, but everything after that changes depending on ones personal traditions. If it falls on a weekend, my family gets together with our extended relatives and take pictures, dance, and enjoy each other’s company all night. My dad always sings and my cousins and I like to dance to traditional Pakistani songs.

However, if it’s on a weekday like it was this year, my family simply prays in the morning at the mosque and then comes home to take pictures. We then go from one family friend’s house to the next. We usually end up attending at least four to five parties in one day so we basically eat all day long.By the end of the day, my hair goes up in a ponytail, my makeup doesn’t stay perfect, and the heavy jewelry comes off. It’s exhausting, but that’s what I love.
Eid al- Adha was like my Christmas growing up. I’d wake up extra excited looking forward getting eidee (money) from my parents, aunts, uncles, and grandmother. Eid is also the only holiday where I get to see some of my cousins who live out of state too, so it’s nice to get to spend time with them. Eid will forever be my favorite holiday.