Ever feel like you live a double life during Ramadhan and ‘Eid? If you are like me and have children, you turn the house into a laboriously decorated affair, where no nook or cranny is left untouched. I have seen the joy in my kids’ eyes as they witness their kingdom magically transformed into Candyland and I feel fulfilled, until they step outside and want to share that joy with their friends.
Often times my children are asked by their friends, “Why are you so dressed up today?” or “How come you didn’t come to school yesterday?” and I can imagine their eyes open wide with excitement as they relive the magic of ‘Eid, eager to share the love for the day with their friends. But, more often than not, the blank looks on their friends’ faces may lead them to the inevitable conclusion that their friends have no clue about this beautiful holiday they love so much. Attempting to communicate even just the pronunciation of the word “’Eid” can be a monumental struggle, and many times my own and other Muslim children may just give up trying to explain, turning ‘Eid from a day of blessings and joy into something awkward that they don’t feel comfortable talking about. If you have witnessed these exchanges between children like I have, then maybe you have similarly felt the carefully crafted and decorated ‘Eid paradise at home crumble beneath you, and you end up wishing ‘Eid could be a holiday like Christmas, where everyone knows about it, talks about it, lives it, and internalizes it. Even Hanukkah, a holiday virtually as unknown as ‘Eid not so many years ago, is now up on the same pedestal as Christmas, and menorah lighting has become commonplace in big cities all over the world. For entire months before the Holiday in question, our lives are filled with storefronts, school activities and street décor, all dedicated to making sure that no one can possibly forget.
I have always wondered: Why couldn’t ‘Eid be that special? This is the question I had in mind when trying to make ‘Eid as special for my children as Christmas and Hanukkah are for other children and the question that eventually led me to create my company, ‘Eid Creations. It was surprising to see that there was little available in terms of decorations for ‘Eid, and I tried to make do with what I had and fashion my own decorations. But once I joined the board of my children’s Islamic school and was in charge of events and fundraising, I quickly realized this was not only a problem for me. Finding quality decorations or any decorations for ‘Eid was a problem that most Muslims faced. ‘Eid doesn’t come with universally recognized symbols like a Christmas tree to decorate or a Menorah to light up, so it was ultimately challenging for me to create designs that would engage our larger communities about ‘Eid.
In an attempt to enrich pluralistic societies with various ethnic cultures and become part of its fabric, petitions have been signed in big numbers to make ‘Eid a national holiday. The outcome in the United States and the United Kingdom, where large Muslim communities strive, has not yet been positive; New York being an exception, where ‘Eid holiday was recognized as recently as 2015. It will take some time for societies to fully embrace differences, when they realize that integration is the best way to achieve harmony, but we should not lose hope, as the struggle for integration is a déjà vu phenomenon that every new community is faced with at one point in time. This year, we can create that dialogue and put an end to this double life that I and so many other Muslims feel we live, by participating in an ‘Eid awareness campaign called #giveEid where we share the joys of ‘Eid with our neighbors, co-workers, teachers, and friends by giving them either homemade or store bought sweets and starting a discourse about a day that means so much to us and to our children.
Many of us already have a tradition of baking cookies with our children and sharing them with our family and friends after prayers, so why not expand that generosity, so common for Muslims, to our neighbours and peers? Participating in the campaign is as easy and it can be a fun activity for you especially if you have children.
Additionally, Eid Creations will be giving out prizes for best recipes, best packaging, best photos and best greetings. To enter for a chance to win, simply follow @eidcreations on Instagram and submit a photo relating to your gift. The picture can be anything, from a selfie with the sweets, to a photo of a recipe or even the packaging. The sky is the limit when it comes to all the possibilities! And don’t forget to hash tag #giveEid to see all the amazing submissions!
Inspired by Martin Luther King, I say the following words: “I have a dream that a day will come when Muslims will contribute positive changes in the communities they live in as they did in the past. I have a dream that ‘Eid will be part of the public culture. I have a dream where Muslims will no longer have to live a double life.”
Rana Bacaloni is a desperate housewife and proud mother of three during the day and a party creator of a company called Eid Creations the rest of the time. If you are interested in getting the latest Ramadhan and ‘Eid trends, follow E’id Creations on twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram at @eidcreations, like them on Facebook and check out their website www.eidcreations.com