Celebrating Eid in Pakistan
For a school girl in Pakistan, the festival of Eid is easily the most exciting holiday on the calendar. School is shut down for three days, and girls stay home and celebrate with their families. In the morning on Eid, male family members offer the Eid prayer in a mosque or public place. Everyone then puts on fancy new clothes especially bought for the occasion. They go out and visit relatives and friends, greeting them with “Eid Mubarak” and exchanging embraces.
Giving gifts and donating to the poor are important parts of the holiday. Children look forward to receiving Eidi, the traditional gift of money. They also love going shopping with their parents and getting new outfits to wear. Eid is the time of year when the Hoshyar Foundation provides new school uniforms to students. For many village children, the uniform is the nicest set of clothes they possess. They wear their uniform with pride and feel happy to own such good clothes.
As much as they relish receiving, children also learn the value of giving. Eid is the most common occasion for performing Zakat, or donation to charity. Families distribute food, clothing, or money to those who are less fortunate in their neighborhood. Children make small gifts by hand and present them to the needy.
Eid is a joyous occasion because it marks the successful conclusion of the month of Ramadan (or Ramzan). During this month, Muslim adults observe a fast between sunrise and sunset. They are absorbed in prayer and reflection during the day. After the sun sets, they break their fast with a communal meal known as Iftar. At the end of the month when the new moon is finally sighted, the fasting is officially over and Eid begins.
Traditional sweet dishes and other festive foods are an integral part of Eid. The rich fare is enjoyed by everyone, but particularly loved by children. Just as they are indulged with cash on Eid, children are generously offered food in all the homes they visit. The abundance of food, love, and merriment on Eid wins kids over completely.