“Whose house are we going to visit next?” My girlfriends and I asked each other as we excitedly planned our Eid celebration in my Bronx apartment.
We were dressed in our newest outfits that our parents had bought for us from Jackson Heights, Queens, NYC’s own “India Town.” Then, we wrote down a list of apartments and apartment buildings we planned on having our Eid feast at. We were a close-knit Bengali neighborhood, where everyone knew everyone and everyone was willing to help anyone in distress. It was nice and that is the kind of community I hoped my kids would grow up in. Those were my Eid memories.
Now, I have three little blessings, each one with their own idea of what Eid celebration should look like. We do DIY decorations, open up gift-wrapped presents and we visit close family, friends and relatives. I also make my kids’ favorite food while carrying down the Bengali traditional meals that my mother used to make, for example, shemai, chotpoti (chana chaat), shingaras (samosas) and meat curry with parathas. In addition, I throw in some brownies or halal jello for my kids!
In Islam, we have three major holidays: Ramadan (the fasting month), Eid-Ul-Fitr (the end of Ramadan celebration) and Eid-Ul-Adha. Coming up on July 9th is Eid-Ul-Adha whereby we celebrate sacrifice in the name of Allah. Muslims believe that the Prophet Abraham (Ibrahim) was willing to sacrifice his son, Ishmael (Ismail) in the name of God. His son also obeyed, trusting fully in God’s command. However, just as Abraham was about to sacrifice his son, Allah put a lamb in his place. This act was a test from Allah on the depth of Abraham’s faith. On this Eid, Muslims around the world slaughter meat, consuming one third of it while distributing the rest among the impoverished. We wake up in the morning, take a shower or bath, wear our fanciest or new clothes, say Eid prayers, talk about why we celebrate Eid-Ul-Adha, and let the festivities begin!
Sana Khan is of Indian descent and resides in Belgium. She is a published author, motivational speaker, writer and coach. Her husband is of Algerian descent and together, they have a three-year-old son.
“We are a multicultural family. Our table is symbolic of that. For Eid celebration, we cook biryani and couscous, tagines and tikka all at once. The desserts include gulab jamun, sewiyan, qalbelooz and baklava. I wear a traditional Algerian kaftan or abaya and my husband wears a traditional Indian kurta for Eid prayers. We call and wish our family members ‘Eid Mubarak.’ It doesn’t matter which clothes we wear, what food we eat, what language we speak. The only thing that matters is that we unite under the banner of Islam and connect in our values and teaching of it.”
Zaiba Hasan is one of the two hosts of “Mommying While Muslim” podcast, engaging Muslim moms worldwide, with the Muslim American Mom in mind. She is of Irish-Pakistani descent and lives in Chicago.
“As a mixed-race child myself, I have already blended multiple cultures into our family’s tradition,” Zaiba said. “I have just simplified it a little for my children. I think my mom as someone marrying into the culture did a fantastic job in creating a festive EID atmosphere, but I saw the physical toll it took on her. So, I decided to scale back and include my kids in the process. We decorate a week before and I make them their favorite breakfast BUT we order dinner in and relax at the end of the day. Eid-Ul-Adha celebration is really about the sacrificing of your most prized possessions so my message to the readers would be, ‘What are you willing to sacrifice for Allah?”
Tamanna Fatema is a Bengali-Canadian who is also an active mom blogger. She keeps a lot of Bengali Eid traditions alive for her three sons. “I grew up distributing sweets to loved ones and today, my kids love it too! There’s also an absolute satisfaction in exchanging gifts with those we care about and giving makes Eid so enjoyable!”
Like me, Tamanna loves doing DIY decorations with her children, “When my oldest was three, one of the first decorations we made was painting “Eid Mubarak” on paper plates. My son enjoyed it so much he told all his friends and teachers at school about it.”
They also love baking cookies together with their Muslims and non-Muslim friends. “Last Eid, my kids took handmade Eid decorations to their schools so that their non-Muslim friends could learn about Eid and celebrate with them! Seeing my children’s excitement made me understand that even if we live in a country where Eid is not a national holiday, we can still make it joyous for ourselves by starting the tradition at home!”
Tamanna goes on to explain how making memories with her children is very important.
Fatima Younus is a certified health coach and marketing director with a passion for fashion, creativity and motherhood. She resides in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and two daughters.
She said, “Growing up when on Eid we all always dressed up and visited family. We continue to carry on these traditions. I used to cook way more but now with mom life, it’s all about catering! Some new traditions we have are decorating the house, just minimal but festive. We have matching family outfits, which isn’t always easy but we somehow always end up making it happen. We also have a BBQ and water balloon fights!”
For Fatima, Eid Ul Adha is the bigger Eid because it reminds us about sacrifice. “I wish you all to celebrate an amazing Eid spent with loved ones, and good food!” she said.
Although these moms all share the basics of dressing up, good food and a sense of community, they also bring something special from their upbringing to the next generation while creating new traditions. Eid Mubarak!