I am having a very busy weekend. It is Eid tomorrow, Inshallah. I wish I could have accomplished more for myself religiously during Ramadan, but inshallah I will benefit for what I was able to do.
Last night I took the girls to a children’s chand raat party hosted by my friend. I cooked biryani for the party. We just put mehndi on the kids’ hands and sat around and snacked and chatted. It was very relaxing.
Tonight we are meeting friends at a community chand raat gathering. There are actually several around town in the DMV area and we are just going to attend the one closest to us. I really wouldn’t care to go, except that I want my daughters to enjoy the festive atmosphere and get the full “maza” of Eid.
Inshallah in the morning we will go for Eid prayers. Then we will go to a friend’s open house. She is originally from Bangladesh, and Sylheti at that, and she told me she is preparing some traditional “pitha” for the occasion. Pitha…I don’t know exactly how to explain what that is. It is like a term that categorizes sweet or savoury and carby Bengali snacks. They can be steamed, fried, baked, hard, soft, porride-like, or cookie-like, and more. I have tried pithas a couple of times before, but I love exploring food, so I am excited about that.
In the evening, we are invited to a friend’s home for a backyard BBQ which I believe will involve bihari kabab among other grilled meats. I have baked hand shaped cookies decorated with food coloring for mehndi for the occasion.
I was just thinking about my Eids in Dubai and how they were often very lonely. Some years we flew to Karachi for Eid. But when we were in Dubai for Eid, we sometimes didn’t have any invites or people to invite home. There was no Eid visiting. Locals tend to stick to themselves and visit their own families, and our few friends would go to their nearby home countries. Sure, we occasionally were invited here or there. But mostly we were alone. So what did we do? We went to the mall. Everyone would go to the mall. It would feel like the whole city was there. At the mall it was like walking through a rock concert, it would be so crowded. Everyone would be in their Eid finery with their jewelry on. And we would just mill around in the crowd. One year I remember eating a Hardee’s burger as an Eid meal! I am so glad we are away from there, alhamdulillah. The last place anyone should want to be on Eid is at the mall.
Having a large circle of friends and an active social life here in the US is really what I wanted when I imagined us settling in the US. My kids have so many friends, mashallah. I don’t think I would have had such a social Ramadan or Eid if I were in just any part of the country, but being in the DMV area is really great. In Dubai it was so hard to make friends. I cherish the connections I did make there over the years, and I love my friends from those days. But it’s just so much easier here to settle into the bubble of an American Muslim subculture and find people who are very similar to me and who have kids who are my children’s ages. The community is so big here that I can pick and choose what I want to get involved in. It’s really diverse and dynamic, and there are always events going on. I can avoid places where I don’t like the atmosphere, and there are plenty of options when it comes to places which are more progressive oriented. I have gone to so many events this past year. (Did I mention that it is just over a year since we moved here? Subhanallah.) I have done a lot of interfaith activities, community service oriented activities, play dates and a mommy group, conferences and lectures, and more. There is just so much going on, alhamdulillah.
Having a busy, social Eid just makes me appreciate the place more.
Eid mubarak to anyone who reads this!