Zaara Ahmed '25
Eid is an exciting time for Muslims, particularly for those who observe the holy month of Ramadan by fasting. During Ramadan, many Muslims abstain from food and drink from dawn until dusk. Fasting is also more than just abstaining from food. It is a testament to our strength and willpower and an opportunity to develop empathy and build community.
Eid-al-Fitr, or simply Eid, marks the end of Ramadan. In Arabic, Eid means "festival," and that's exactly what it is. It's a day to rejoice, indulge, and celebrate with family. In South Asian Muslim cultures, the night before Eid is called Chand Raat, which translates to "night of the moon." On this night, people stay up late, applying intricate henna designs to their hands, singing and dancing, exchanging Eid Mubarak greetings, and cooking elaborate meals. Each year, I look forward to dressing up in new clothes, receiving presents, and meeting friends and family on Eid day. Unfortunately, Eid did not feel as special the past couple of years due to COVID-19 restrictions. Still, we made up for it by celebrating twice as much this year!
In Bangladesh and other Muslim countries, Eid is a time of great festivity, with streets lit up and everyone in high spirits. People exchange gifts with their loved ones, and offices, schools, and shops close down for the day. I miss celebrating Eid in Bangladesh, where my extended family lives. Here, most people go about their daily business, and although I take the day off, my friends who I would love to spend Eid with often have school commitments, which dampens my spirits a bit. Nevertheless, we have plenty of family and friends who celebrate Eid, and we visit them, enjoy biryani and baklava, and exchange gifts and pleasantries.
Another significant aspect of celebrating Eid is Eid Prayer, a congregational prayer that marks the end of Ramadan. One of the key elements of Eid prayer is that it brings people of all ages, backgrounds, and walks of life together to celebrate the end of the holy month of Ramadan. There's something unifying about praying together after fasting for a month - a shared experience that creates a sense of kinship. I vividly remember one Eid a couple of years ago when I went to the mosque to perform the Eid prayer. I was praying next to two women I didn’t know and after we finished, they both turned to hug me. Despite being strangers, we shared a bond of faith and sisterhood that made us feel like family. It's moments like these that make Eid prayer a truly special and meaningful experience.
Now that Ramadan is over, I'm eager to return to school, have lunch with my friends, and play sports feeling refreshed and ready for the rest of the year.