No Single Way of Celebrating Eid-ul-Adha

No Single Way of Celebrating Eid-ul-Adha

Thinking of ways to recreate some of the Eid-ul-Adha atmosphere in a chilly corner of the US in my student-bubble is a challenging task. I am flooded with vivid memories of the festive atmosphere, which characterises the run-up to Eid in Pakistan. The frenzied bazaars alone provide a rich taste of the behind-the-scenes Eid day drama. Somehow the rickshaws putter around more obnoxiously than usual. Girls and ‘Aunties’ seem to acquire a fiercely competitive ‘survival-of-the-fittest’ attitude to find a missing accessory. The tailors burdened with the responsibility to stitch new Eid clothes come up with a special Eid-themed spiel to explain why they didn’t complete the order.

Eid-Ul-Adha also unleashes a competitive sprint to shop for the perfect goat (or two) with the widest grin (clearly I am not an experienced goat-purchaser). All of this is undertaken for an Islamic celebration that also arguably results in a minor redistribution of wealth.

Here in the US or Canada, we learn to accept our deprivation of some of the above-mentioned joys. Family and friends who live in parts of the US and Canada with sizeable Pakistani communities manage to recreate this celebratory atmosphere through Eid themed dinner parties.

It’s slightly more difficult to create that jovial atmosphere when you exist in a student-bubble at a US university with a handful of other Pakistanis. My Pakistani friend and I have managed to cover the festive part by convincing our diverse group of friends to have an international food potluck on the day. Although her and I are slightly cheating by bringing Biryani and chicken curry to the table rather than meat-based dishes.

Celebrating Eid with non-Muslims is bound to be a curious experience at the very least. There is nothing like being quizzed about your religious holidays by an interested friend which forces one to stop and reflect on why we do some of the things we do.

Not having the excuse of being distracted by Eid festivities in my current student-bubble, as well as lacking the finance to purchase a goat, I have decided to make more of an effort to understand, convey and apply the deeper meaning of Eid-Ul-Adha. Most people are aware that Muslims celebrate this Eid in remembrance of prophet Abraham’s readiness to sacrifice his son Ishmael to God. As a tribute, they sacrifice a domestic animal.

But perhaps we need to delve slightly deeper. We are all well aware of our selfish tendencies. Even when we give to others, we do it at our own convenience. When was the last time one of us made a personal sacrifice of something truly precious for the sake of another’s welfare or even God? Whilst I can personally recollect charitable acts, I cannot recollect a sacrifice made in a way, which was particularly difficult for me. As a tribute to Abraham’s sacrifice this Eid, I will make an effort to be charitable in a way, which is perhaps not the most convenient for me.

Amira Jadoon

A Political Science PhD student at the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy,New York

  • Asad Ullah

    Nice one.especially question raised in end about personal sacrifices for others is soul awakening.We should look into ourselves and bring change within first.

  • Zjilani21

    Well written artical MA:)

  • Convict01

    Ibrahim (A.S)….not Abraham. and write (A.S) also.

  • Owais

    avery good represtative of overseas Pakistani’s sentiments on such occasions. I spent this eid ul azha with a nice bowl of daal-chaawal :D the only special thing i could find to cook for myself

  • Anonymous

    Practising it, I guess is the point. One should strive to be a better human being. To learn the traditions of our great prophets is one thing, practising same is another.