MUSCAT, June 17 – Maryam KellyAnn Seely, a Canadian by birth, celebrated her ‘first’ Eid this year. Having embraced Islam in 2017, she found the celebrations with an Omani family “very enjoyable” despite the language barrier.
“My first Eid was with an Omani family which invited me to their farm, where they all gather every year to celebrate. Here, I experienced some of the local traditions associated with the occasion,” said Maryam.
Many ‘new Muslims’ had a similar experience.
Hamza Abu Salahaddin, for instance, had celebrated Eid in the other countries before. Eid celebrations in Oman, however, have been “quite memorable” for him.
“I celebrated my first Eid in San Diego, California. It was a vibrant celebration with Muslims from all over the world. I have been fortunate enough, alhumdulilah, to celebrate Eid in a number of countries, but none of them come close to that in Oman,” he said.
“In Oman, Eid is a time when the entire neighbourhood comes together to celebrate the wonderful occasion. Unlike western nations, the entire country is engaged in festivities, with families visiting one another and neighbours sharing gifts and traditional food. Shops are closed and children run freely from door to door in their new outfits,” Hamza said.
For Jennifer Lynn, an American who converted to Islam some seven years ago, Eid has been bringing in renewed joy in her life year after year.
“My first Eid was like Christmas without the tree. I celebrated the festival with my daughters in the US. We decorated the house and I made a big pancake breakfast and they opened their gifts. After breakfast, I took them to a grocery store and they helped me choose some non-perishable food items for donating to the needy,” said Jennifer, who works with an NGO involved in taking care of abandoned animals in Muscat.
Farida Antiforova, a Russian who was attracted to Islam some years ago, finds fasting and Eid celebrations amazing.
“Eid is a really family holiday. Now I can feel its full connection with my family and they are happy to learn Islamic traditions. My family loves Arabic coffee too much and I think it’s not about taste, but more about tradition. It’s the time when you can listen to them and be a part of the family.”
Meanwhile, Maryam has decided to use this time to know all about Eid. “I want to reflect on the month. I wrote down all the positive things I did during Ramadhan and decided I will continue these habits for the remaining months of the year.”
Ramadhan, she says, isn’t just the time to put bad habits on hold, “it’s for breaking old habits and making a fresh start”.