New Muslims: Why Celebrate Eid?

New Muslims: Why Celebrate Eid?

written by Theresa Corbin for About Islam

No matter what the weather, no matter how tasty the Eid breakfast, no matter how well I felt my Ramadan went, for many years after I converted to Islam, I followed the same old Eid pattern.

Wake up. Pray fajr (morning prayer). Eat breakfast. Go to Eid Prayer.

Then I, my husband or both of us, would go to school or work. It was anti-climactic at best.

After a month of character building, spiritual highs and building a better relationship with the Quran, it was always right back to pre-Ramadan business as usual, hoping to keep the lessons and increased faith as we exited the month un-commemorated.

Until one year, I said enough! I put my foot down and didn’t go into work. I took the day off of school and insisted my husband do the same. Guess what happened?

No, the world didn’t fall apart. No, we didn’t fail our classes. We actually enjoyed ourselves.

We spent time to acknowledge what Ramadan meant to us and to celebrate our successes in it. And because of our celebration we felt more Muslim somehow. We felt closer to our community. We felt better prepared to move on and face the challenges of life outside of Ramadan.

In the Western world where few even know what Eid is, it is very difficult to get out of day to day commitments to celebrate the holiday or rather the holy day. It is even more difficult to have that holiday feeling when those around you are treating the day like any other ordinary day.

As converts, we have to give up a lot of our old holidays when we come into Islam. Giving up holidays where everyone is celebrating and everything is decorated can be difficult.

Many of us treasure our holiday memories and family traditions. But as Muslim we are not left with nothing in the place of our old tradition. As converts we can and must make new traditions and create a holiday feeling for ourselves.

Why Celebrate? For Gratification and Gratitude

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Eid In A Can

Written and test kitchen-ed by Theresa Corbin

What is better that cheese in a can? 

That’s right, Eid in a can!

eid in a can

Eid means “Celebration”. There are two Islamic celebrations: Eid al-Fitr- celebrated after the month of fasting (Ramadan), and Eid al-Adha- celebrated after the pilgrimage (Hajj).

Cake (frosting + sprinkles)/love = Eid in a Can. It’s a simple equation, really.

Eid (al-Fitr) is right around the corner. And despite the fact that I don’t like posting stuff about food during Ramadan, I wanted to share my favorite DIY gift tutorial. Cake in a can!!

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It’s the Most Difficult Time of The Year

graphic by Kaighla Um Dayo
graphic by Kaighla Um Dayo

(Based on the original song by George Wyle and Edward Pola “It’s the Most Difficult Time of the Year”)

It’s the most difficult time of the year!

There are kids in the masjid

they’re running and screaming

and no one seems to caaaaare.

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5 Tasty Cookies for Eid

5 Tasty Cookies for Eid

apron 3

Written by Gracie Lawrence
There are many kinds of multicultural foods that span borders and cultures. Cookies are one of them. It seems natural, bite sized with various textures and add-ins, the variations are limitless. Some of us never deviate from family traditions, cookie recipes past down from generations and other of us are more like cookie connoisseurs, experimenting from one titillating recipe to the next.

Many converts from Christianity have memories of making cookies and dessert bars during holidays to share with neighbors, family and friends. Sometimes they are gifted in festive decorative tin containers and other times just in simple plates. It was a good way to bond with others and improve fellowship and community. It still is.

This Eid whether you are preparing for your traditional celebration with family or if this is your first one with friends, consider the cookie as the crunchy or chewy addition to your holiday plans.

Introducing 5 tasty cookies for Eid

1. Frosted Sugar Cookies

Soft and sweet with a mild buttery taste. These cookies are always popular because they are fun to cut into various shapes and decorate with frosting, candy coated sprinkles or small candies. Combine both the artist and chef within and spread the holiday cheer with this fun cookie classic. Check out this blogger’s version below.


sugarcookies edit

2. Shortbread with Nuts

Whether you call them Mexican Wedding Cookies, Snowballs or Russian Tea Cakes we all know what you mean. Tender, rolled in white powdered sugar and made rich by the addition of pecans or other nut of your choice, these cookies are a hit with young and old alike. Other cultures also have their own version of this cookie and with something this tasty, it shouldn’t be a surprise. May we also recommend the the Middle East version of this cookie, Ghraybeh which incorporates the aroma of rose water and crunch of pistachios. Click the picture below for details.

Ghraybeh edit

3. Jam thumbprint cookies

Variations of jams and the shimmering effect it has against the buttery crumb foundation is both a visual and tasty delight. Have fun deciding which kind of fruit to incorporate and don’t forget to pair it with the tea of your choice. The Swedish version called Rosenmunnar is both delicate and sweet. For the recipe, click below.

jelly cookies

4. Chocolate Cookies

Chocolate is definitely a flavor enjoyed more in some cultures than others; however, for those raised with this aromatic, slightly bitter spice made from cacao seeds it is both comfort and addiction wrapped with a neat and sometimes sticky bow. Check out this interesting addition to your recipe collection below- Chocolate Afghan Cookies from New Zealand.

chocolate

5. Coconut Macaroons

There are so many varieties of this cookie where this exotic fruit of the tropics is showcased. Some prefer these macaroons made with sweetened condensed milk, others prefer the light egg white version and others have no preference as long as it is dipped in chocolate. We invite you to try this North African variety known for its tender light crunch below.

coconut

Cookies, whatever the variety, can be enjoyed from the very beginning, starting with your creativity in the kitchen, prepared thoughtfully alone or with family, and finally enjoyed with thanks and smiles as they are received with open hands and warm greetings during this Eid holiday.

giraffe-hug 1

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Have Yourself a Very Multi-Cultural Eid!

Have Yourself a Very Multi-Cultural Eid!

Written by Gracie Lawrence
eid-2014

Eid! Who knew three letters could pack such a punch.

What does it mean to a lot of people? Well, for some it conjures up memories of seeing loved ones, going to early prayer at the mosque and eating certain traditional sweets.

Unfortunately for many converts, who grew up celebrating different holidays, we may not feel as connected to this happy occasion. We may still painfully cling to lingering images of our own childhood, collecting colorful eggs in baskets or throwing tinsel and garlands on trees, and you know what … that is okay.

It is normal to psychologically associate feelings with memories triggered by events as these- times when we were closest to our families. We do our best to try and create new memories that can also similarly capture the feel good events of our past- whether with new Muslim friends, new spouses or growing families.

ballons eid 2

And so we celebrate these Muslim holidays sometimes hesitant, not wanting to create bid’ah ( Also know as innovation in religion. Bid’ah in Islam is considered a deviation and a serious sin) and yet only familiar to celebrating holidays in a certain fashion, the way in which we were raised.

One area new to many converts that begin to mingle with Muslims outside of their culture is the Eastern cultural practice of Eidia or Eidie. Eidia is money that is handed to women or children during Eid that can range from a few cents to hundreds of dollars and is given as a gift instead of an actual present wrapped in ribbons and bows.

Memories....from the corner of my mind....
What can be inside? Don’t shake it too hard!

Generally reserved for family including extended family members- depending on the culture it may also include neighborhood children that visit houses door to door wishing happy Eid in exchange for a few cents.

For new converts, depending on their own cultural upbringing, it can be strange to see people pass out money- generally, much effort and consideration is put into finding a loved one an actual object that we believe may be cherished or enjoyed.

In fact, in many circles handing out money may be seen as kind of insulting– a kind of whoops, we forgot about you – so here is some cash or the awkward … don’t know you so well third cousin, once removed, here, have a gift card.

This “cash-as-an-after-thought present” is not the perception in many Eastern cultures where the extra money can be used not only in the purchase of the rare indulgent treat of choice, but more often than not, as money that can be used to fulfill a basic need (such as paying an electric bill) or fulfill other social obligation … such as giving your Eidie money or Eidia to someone younger or more in need than yourself.

cute-animals-cat-kitten-begging-pics
Kids will be lining up all “Happy Eid good sir…..”

However you chose to celebrate the upcoming holiday, sharing tokens of friendship and kindness that puts happiness in the heart of another Muslim is always a good deed pleasing to Allah.

So if you are a converts, don’t look down on someone who is handing out cash. If you are a born Muslims, understand the consideration that went into a finding the right gift, if it is not cash.

However you decide to spread cheer, whether you choose to do that through passing homemade sweets, treating another with a thoughtfully wrapped gift, passing out Eidia or just sending smiles, salams and a “Happy Eid”, it always tends to make the season bright.

baby_lions_hug-t3

 

This Eid let’s take time to reflect, be grateful for what we have been blessed with, praise Allah, and enjoy.

 

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Make It An Eid to Remember

Written by Theresa Corbin

Creating Eid memories

As the air becomes crisp and trees lose their leaves, something strange begins to happen in the West.

It commences with people young and old donning garb that might land them in the loony bin any other time of year; sporting baggage that would never make it past the most lax airport security checkpoint; and painting their faces- for one of two purposes- begging for candy or to go parading off to parties and bars.

But, then about a month later, everyone gathers with their kinfolk for awkward, sometimes annoying, and downright passive aggressive conversations while eating to the point of contemplating a trip to the ER for a quick stomach pump. Yes, turkey and stuffing can be that good.

But, then yet another month after that, folks ritually go out and kill a tree so they can drag it into their homes and fill it with lights and baubles. This dead tree will be the epicenter around which presents bought on borrowed money will be shared all while claiming an immortal fat man from an uninhabitable part of earth brought them.

Welcome to the holiday season. There is so much hype and pomp that goes along with it that Muslims often feel drawn to participate in the “cheer”. But why celebrate these holidays when we have the two Eids that can be as cheerful?


holiday cheer
But when you live in the West, the Eids pale in comparison to the blow outs the non-Muslims celebrate.

What are our Eid traditions?

1. We wake up. Dress up. Go to the Eid prayer.

2. We may or may not stay for the khutbah (lecture) after.

3. We may or may not go and have breakfast.

4. Since we are in the West and the Eids are not recognized as national holidays, it is highly likely that we will have to rush off to work or school at some point.

Even though the morning is filled with activities, the rest of the day falls flat like a bad souffle (not that I have ever made a souffle).

When I first converted to Islam and for several Eids after, I was bummed that Eid seemed like weak sauce compared to the holiday celebrations I had left behind. It seemed like the entire country glowed around the major holidays, but when the Eids came around, sure there would be tons of congrats exchanged at prayer, but then the Eid outfits would come off and the workaday clothes would come back on. And it was back to the daily grind almost instantly.

But then I decided that if I wanted Eid to be special, then I needed to make it special.

If each Muslim family, individual, or community made their Eid special for themselves and told those around them what Eid is, then Eid would be special. What is stopping us? Do we really need department stores to tell us to celebrate by having a holiday sale? Do we have to be reminded by a hallmark commercial that Eid is time for happiness?

Are we waiting for big corporations to commercialize our holidays? Are we waiting for community events or our bosses to ask you if we want Eid off (it will likely never happen)?

Let’s make the Eids special for our families and communities so that we don’t feel cheated out of holiday happiness. Celebrate your holidays. Take the Eids off. Keep the kids home from school. Make memories. Make it something to look forward too.

Decorate the house. Play games with the family. Make special dishes that everyone loves. Send gifts to your neighbors (if they don’t know what Eid is, then tell them).

And husbands, don’t sit back on the couch while your wife runs around making Eid merry. Get off your butt, and make Eid merry with her! 

Download free decorations for your home here or click on the pic below:

fromacraftyarab.blogspot.com
fromacraftyarab.blogspot.com

Have activities for the whole family. Clickity click here

eid-party
from hibamagazine.com

Make something tasty for your loved ones. Try some traditional Eastern Eid dishes (recipes hereor make your own fav comfort foods.

from www.craftionary.net
from http://www.craftionary.net

Make it an Eid to Remember!

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Like the post, share it, pin it, comment on it, and/or do whatever social media magic it is that you prefer. Find out more about us in the understandably named “About” page and browse other posts in “Table of Contents”.