Festive Eid it is, or is it?

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Eid Mubarak. Belated Eid wishes to all my readers. Usually Eid is a pretty hectic occassion, sometimes even more hectic than the wedding of a sibling (and we all know how enjoyable yet tiring wedding preparations and weddings are). If you live in Pakistan, this most probably is how you would have celebrated Eid.

On Day 1, after the Eid prayers, some members of a family decide to go visit other members (which can be the maike wale – the bride’s side, susral wale – the groom’s side, nanhyal wale – maternal side of the family or dadhyal wale – paternal side of the family, whatever fits). You will get ready to go out, donning the eid dress, which was bought after much contemplation and bargaining. Somewhere around 11 , you will be able to set out on the Eid mission.

Since you would have to visit a minimum of 4 – 5 houses, you will set a target of 45 minutes – 1 hr per house. the following sequence of communication at all houses.

1. Eid wishes. Oh you missed the mandatory 3 times eid hug. Come here, make up for the loss.

2. How did your Ramadan go (or Iftar Parties/eid shopping/eid preps)?

3. Some more comments on the above (including the weather. illness, the hardships of fasting/ shopping during fasting)

4. The ladies of the house will proceed to the kitchen and spend 20 – 30 min preparing the Eid feast to be served.

5. The eid feast is served. Eidi (eid money will be distributed by elders to the youngsters).

6. While doing justice to the feast, guests will questions the host about their eid plans and invite the hosts the very next day for eid get together at the guest’s house.

7. The guests will discuss who else would be visiting/ have visited during the day.

8. By now, the designated 45 minutes will be up and the guests will seek permission to leave and visit the next house.

Everyone will be pretty much exhausted by the end of the day; visitors due to the excessive visiting they did, hosts due to the many people they played host to. Still, the Eid  festivities are far from over.

On day 2, those who stayed home to entertain guests, will go to visit all those who were guests the day before. The same 45 min – 1hr time will be allocated for each house. The same people will meet each other – again. The communication sequence will change slightly, but most part will remain the same.

1. Eid greetings again. The mandatory 3 hugs of the greeting to be endured once again.

2. No more questions about Ramadan, because, after all you would not want to repeat the same conversation you had the day before with the same people clad in different clothes.

3. Mandatory comments/ compliments on the Eid dresses.

4. Today’s hosts will spend the same 20 – 30 minutes preparing the Eid delicacies to be served.

5. The conversation will continue while the feast is being enjoyed.

6. Now the guests will ask hosts, who had they visited on day 1 and at what time did they go?

7. Some conspirational questions about some specific character of the family on who he/she met or did not meet and his/her body language, verbal language etc.

8. The designated 45 minutes would be up by this time and guests will seek permission to leave.

Any of the family members who could not meet at least twice in days 1 and 2 will use day 3 to complete the count. Most of the the times meeting the same people two times is more than how much you will them in the rest of the year.

Try and voice your opinion on this meeting 2 or 3 times in the span of 3 days, and be ready to be reprimanded and called hard hearted, cold blooded, and even proud.Going over these 3 days, I don’t see any constructive output. People who hate each other keep on hating despite the 2 separate 45 min instances of acting happy and cordial. Time that could be spent on something better is wasted in fulfilling illogical social obligations.

For an introvert like me, all of the getting together to celebrate (really?) Eid is very mentally and emotionally stressful, something which no one in Pakistan even tries to understand, because if you don’t like meeting multiple times with all your relatives, you definitely are a heartless person. This eid, by today, I am actually wishing for Monday, for some semblance of normality in life.

Wouldn’t it be much more better if every eid, the family decides to meet at one house (a different host each eid), maybe plan a one dish lunch, stay a bit longer than 45 min and have a healthy conversation ad then use the rest of the days to visit extended family? Wouldn’t it be much more better to spread meeting blood relatives all over the year than just the 3 days of eid? Won’t it be much more better if relatives met on eid to resolve differences and not to impress with culinary skills because currently all we do on eid is visit each other and eat?

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