Eid’l Fitr marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan with prayer, and festive joy among kith and kin that includes feasting, gift-giving and reunions.
This is what I grew up knowing: Eid’l Fitr is the “holiday of breaking of the fast” — and it is a happy time, three days of unadulterated joy.
I still remember my wide-eyed eagerness for the happiness Eid’l Fitr always brings — it is when I see family members and friends who are dear to me, and they give me gifts and feast with me, too. Eid’l Fitr is a holiday that brings me back to the childhood when I awaited Eid’l Fitr with such eager anticipation.
Grown up and all, I still feel the same excitement now.
Ramadan begins with prayer and reverence, and progresses into fasting and rectitude. It ends with communal prayer and shared joy expressed in the greeting “Eid Mubarak (blessed holiday).”
Our community, in the larger view, is 1.8 billion Muslims worldwide — all of us celebrating this holiday together as we fasted together all throughout Ramadan.
The celebration of the Eid’l Fitr holiday begins very early in mosques, stadiums, banquet halls and other public places where we can listen to the beautiful and soul-lifting Eid chants and take part in prayers that mark the start of the three days that we celebrate this holiday.
Many Muslims shop for the gifts they give to family and friends a day or two before Eid. This is when each member of a Muslim family will shop for new clothes and shoes to wear for the Eid festivities, beginning with the morning prayer on the day of Eid’l Fitr itself until the end of the prayers, usually at 8:00 a.m. I remember looking forward to eating the food prepared by my family with such joy that I counted every hour to the feasting.
Eid’l Fitr is all about synergy in our community as Muslims.
We gather with family and friends after our prayers to eat — with several generations of our families exchanging gifts. This is what my childhood memories of Eid’l Fitr are: We visit the family elders’ homes, where we celebrate and bring them good cheer. Quite often, we bring our elders sweets and gifts. This is how we maintain close ties across the generations of our families.
On the night before the Eid’l Fitr holiday begins, I’d feel building excitement over the family reunions and gift-giving that would follow. My siblings and I would wake up at three in the morning to dress for the morning prayer, as well as decide which of our new clothes and shoes to wear for the celebrations that follow the morning prayer. I still see our young faces so clearly in my mind.
Back home after the prayer, we would either stay home to receive visiting relatives, or go out and visit our kin. Like other Filipinos, we’d pay our respects to the elders with mano as the elders would give us what we call ‘mangjara’ in Tausug — gifts of money that we could save or spend.
I may be all grown up this Eid, but this holiday will always bring out my inner child, that little boy waiting with wide-eyed wonder and excitement over the big holiday that closes a month of fasting and prayer with feasting, gifts and goodwill from family and friends.
Eid’l Fitr is a time of joy and, no matter how young or old you may be, this shared joy is something that will always touch your soul deeply and profoundly enough to be ingrained in memory. – Rappler.com
Amir Mawallil is the former director of the Office on Bangsamoro Youth Affairs and the current executive director of the Bureau of Public Information of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao
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