Waqas, my nephew, has been excited for days. It’s not every day that he gets to spend a lot of time with other kids in the neighbourhood. Yiti is a coastal town made of several small, often intimate villages. It is known for its scenic and long beaches and to this day, many of the men here are fishermen who depend on the bounty of the sea for their day to day needs. A lot of things changed in Yiti over the last 10 years. Paved roads made way for further developments and we, its residents, have seen the fast growth. Some of the fisherfolks have to be moved to nearby housing units so that their former lands can be developed and enhanced. Our family is part of those who have to be relocated.
Despite the growing divide and distance, Eid al Adha always brought friends and families to a common location. This important Muslim festival that commemorates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his only son Ismaeel, also called the Festival of Sacrifice, reminds us that we have received a lot of blessings to be thankful for and therefore, share our happiness with those we adore, respect and love.
Dressed in his brown, custom-made dishdasha, he looked like a young man ready to witness a tradition passed on for generations. He was never the kind of kid who hides behind his father’s back so when he arrived at the assembly area, a piece of land dotted by date palms and surrounded by mountain — he was off running towards his friends who were dressed as regal as he is.
It is so amazing to see the kids in their different traditional clothes. The boys have their kuma and musar while the girls are wearing vibrant dresses inspired by traditional clothes women from our village always wear with pride.
Kids of different ages are gathered together not just to connect with their cousins or friends but so that they too will learn what the gathering and the celebration were all about.
When I was child, I was just as giddy as the kids now are. Although they are absolutely happy that they have their family surrounding them, based on my personal experience, it’s the fun part that keeps them going. Never had they been so alive and joyous. These moments will help foster and make them better friends with each other.
I really missed those simple times, those long almost forgotten moments. Back then, even now, we begin Eid preparation for weeks in advance.
Preparing children’s clothes is the first task that drives men and women to the market to buy the best clothes. They do this because it is also their joy to draw smiles on their children’s faces. Because parents know that children easily get sullied and dirtied, they usually buy several pieces of them.
Through this clothing, the children are introduced and are reminded to love a custom and tradition.
On the Eid holiday itself, kids are shown how to do the proper Eid prayer. The parents demonstrate how they gather in one place, what preparations they make to be ready for the sacred activity.
This is the most important lesson they were taught. They are reminded that the gathering was to give way for a mass adoration of God where families do it together to bring honour to His name.
Once the Eid prayers are done, social visits and communication are given priorities. Kids are also given more leeway to buy and enjoy not only sweets but different activities as well.
Personally, I always loved Eid not only because it is a party, but because other than the new clothes, gifts, and Eidah, families are reunited and rebonded — increasing our love for one another.
May we always keep this spirit of brotherhood and love and may we successfully pass it to our children for generations to come.
PHOTOS and TEXT By AHMED AL JAABRI