Shards of lightning illuminate behind closed eyelids. I listen out for the rumble of thunder as I struggle to open heavy lids, tired from a month of fasting and sleep deprivation. Tonight I wanted to go out and sight the new moon in Sea Point as is the tradition in Cape Town. I’ve never been, and Taufeeq has been talking about it since the kids have been talking about it in school. It’s storming today, and he’s going to be disappointed. Me even more so, because a mother is always sadder than her child when she cannot make him happy. This tradition of sighting the moon on the night before Eid may have to be delayed till next year for us.
Tradition, that word has so many connotations. Much of it good, some of it not. I was reading a post by Namreen Sonday from the blog, Life and Times or fireflies, where she talks about being conflicted about upholding certain traditions like dressing up for Eid. It got me thinking about how traditions are slowly falling away. I sometimes hear of people that have gone to work after Eid Namaaz. The coming together of extended family over an Eid meal is giving way to Eid buffets at restaurants. The need to dress up is optional at most.
I’ll admit that there are times when Eid feels like a lot of work. When all that prep in the kitchen the day before, the time spent in the mall shopping for Eid clothes, all the time in the car driving around visiting family seems like a lot. And it is. But I have realised that these traditions are fulfilling. Sure, there are a one or two that can be dropped, like Chicken curry evvvrry, single, Eid. (My mother will have my head if she reads this. Good thing she doesn’t read my blog). We also have to be careful of innovating and of copying other traditions that don’t form part of our deen.
Our traditions define us in some ways, as belonging to a community or family. There is comfort in knowing that something special comes around every year that you can count on and look forward to. Sometimes they change a little, like when you get married and start you own family and your own Eid traditions. These you can make your own, and incorporate them into existing traditions.
So as we walk this path of modern life, let us embrace the value of our traditions, be it special dishes we make every eid like my mum’s Saanna, or taking the time to look and dress in our best, or making an effort to see our relatives who we would otherwise not see all year. Let’s own our traditions and define our own Eid.
May your Eid be blessed and include a tradition that makes you happy.
Eid Mubarak from my family to yours.
Dilshad, Zulfikar and Taufeeq