Having received the chance to celebrate Eid-ul-Azha both in Pakistan and America, there aren’t many differences between the two.
The major difference is that the whole atmosphere of Eid-ul-Azha is not present everywhere abroad, which can get sad since there aren’t many holidays to celebrate. The presence of close family members and friends is usually enough to take me out of a slump.
As much as I complain about things not being the same where I live now, I have learned it’s not so bad.
Staying out late shopping, mehndi wala haath the night before, and the early morning azaan is something us foreigners miss out on.
Around Eid season, Pakistanis go crazy over picking out their clothes for the holiday (typically three days of outfits), then scan dozens of shops to get the perfect matching accessories. And then of course, they try to figure out who gets to host the Eid barbeques at their house on what day at what hour. These are the things I miss about Eid in Pakistan.
Us Pakistanis living in different parts of the world have figured out a way to enjoy this holiday without feeling left out or jealous.
An average day for me would begin with being awoken by ten different alarms.
Being able to wake up early and get ready just in time to meet the rest of the family outside of the house with enough time to drive to the masjid to catch the Eid-ul-Azha namaaz is a challenge every Eid. The feeling of being surrounded by close ones and wishing each other at the Masjid is one that is incomparable to anything else.
Going back home knowing Mama will have tons of desserts ready for us is something that has become our own tradition.
I don’t like to brag, but my mom is the best cook in the world. She never disappoints, especially on Eid. Sometimes we have to wait for family or friends to come over before we can dive into the rest of the food (but who doesn’t sneak in a bite here and there when she isn’t looking?)
Around the same time we attack the food, Papa tends to pull out his wallet and give us some cash.
Regardless of what Eid it is, we still get some sort of Eidi.
Then we spend that money either going to see the new Pakistani movie that is out in theaters or we just go shopping.
Since it is not considered an official holiday and most of us take a day off of work to celebrate, it is usually the best time to shop and go out with family and friends. This way my chutti from work is worth the while.
Somewhere in that schedule, we always manage to secure a time for photo shoots.
A few pictures are never enough. Long, elaborative photo shoots are the best pastime between meals or activities on Eid.
The day usually ends with calling and Face-timing family back home in Pakistan.
Since majority of the time, Eid is celebrated a day later in Pakistan, we get to wish them an Eid Mubarak as their day begins, which is always a good feeling and it makes me feel closer to the ones that are so far away.
As much as I miss the Eids in Pakistan, it isn’t so bad here anymore.
I feel content being around the people I love the most and we make the most out of what we can. Yes I miss having mehndi laga nai walian right around the corner. I miss the excitement of shopping in stores for outfit rather than online, and being able to feed the bakra, but we have found our own ways of compromising.
How do you celebrate Eid-ul-Azha? Let us know in the comments.
Cover image via aljazeera.com