The day started with a special occasion morning religious service. Our was held at a local conference center so that we could all join in one big group celebration. Even then, they held five different sessions and each was full. Maybe tens of thousands of Muslims passed through the doors that day. Hectic, but nice. A local politician came out to address the crowd. As a US tax-exempt organization, our mosque can't endorse any political candidates, and if they invite one they have to invite them all (or they risk losing their tax-exempt status.) I always take note of who shows up, who thinks it's important to talk to Muslims too. This guy - Mark Herring - did a nice job, and even mentioned that he "will stand by your community." And it's not an election year for him, but he still came. Bonus points.
After the prayers, we stopped by the little carnival our mosque held in the same location. Moonbounce, cotton candy and a toy for the baby from one of the vendors. The baby chose a bubble-shooting gun thing that the vendor guy was holding in his had to display. The one he sold us worked for exactly NOT EVEN THE FIRST SECOND. Seriously, not a single bubble was shot. But triumphant Mian to the rescue, he was able to Macguyver-style fix it with the tube from a ballpoint refill later in the afternoon. Even then it worked only for about 15 minutes, but the holiday was saved!
A big part of Eid celebrations is about new clothes. I had three new saris I'd brought back with me from Pakistan last time, but it's hard to pray in a sari. I didn't think I had anything else new, but at the last minute I found one un-worn shalwar kameez. It was very plain though, not shiny enough for such a celebratory day, so I only wore it to the morning prayers. We had invitations to two parties on the Eid day, so after we came home and ate some brunch, I changed into one of the glittery sarees. A red & orange benarsi silk number. We went to a friend's house, his family is Bengali and I hear Bengali women wear a lot of saris, so it turned out to be a good choice and his mother complimented me a lot :)
In the evening, I changed clothes again! My sister-in-law had brought me a new saree when she came to live with us and she had a matching one. They were different colors; mine was greenish-grey and hers was blueish-grey, but they had the same borders and embroidery, so you could tell they matched. We wanted to wear them together, and the Eid party was the first opportunity.
We'd bought new clothes for M and the baby from Karachi when we were there. Both wore blue Junaid Jamshed shalwar kameez and M had a waistcoat. I'm telling you, I love the way a waistcoat looks! I wish I could have found a matching one for the baby, but I've only ever found those chamak-y, mirror-worked waistcoats for kids. This one was a formal, pinstriped number. The boys all of course wore the same outfits all day. Boys! My sister-in-law had been saving her favorite not-yet-worn outfit for Eid, a red shalwar kameez.
On the second day of Eid - celebrations last for three days, did I forget to mention that? - we hosted a barbeque at our home. Mian is known for his Bihari kabab skeellzzz. We invited 40 people and Chachoo spent 2 hours painstakingly threading thin strips of meat onto skewers. Mian spent three hours grilling them! I spent those three hours running back and forth between my kitchen and the backyard getting all the other supplies. Onions must be sliced, ice refilled. The four cakes our guests brought must be set up on the dessert table. Still, a barbeque is a relatively less stress party to have, so it was very nice. We did it last Eid and I think we'll make Eid barbeques our tradition from now on.
On the third day of Eid, we went to the closest cousins' house, about two hours away. M has a small contingent of cousins between us and New Jersey, so most of them all congregate at this one middle cousin's home. I wore an old shalwar kameez, one from Chachoo's mehendi. (The green one from this post.) Everyone else re-wore their Eid clothes. The party was nice, and it was nice to have so many things to do all Eid weekend. But it ended on a bit of a sour note when one of M's cousins who was there said something that upset me. There was some discussion going on and I had lost track of the conversation, so I looked to my Mian for some translation and the cousin said something like "Look how much pain he's in, he has to make his wife understand." And he's freaking right, because I didn't even understand that part and M had to tell me about it later. He told me just a few minutes before we were leaving, we'd already packed up, and it upset me so badly I had to go to the bathroom because I was starting to cry. I'm a source of PAIN? And calling me that on Eid, and then I don't even understand it. I just felt like such a huge idiot, being talked about behind my back but I'm RIGHT THERE, and too stupid to even get it. And this is supposed to be my FAMILY. I cried a bit on the way back home too, and everyone tried to make me feel better. (But that made it worse, since I'm generally a closet crier and hate to be emotional in public and I was trying to hide it as much as I could. But failing.)
I feel so incredibly lucky to have been so welcomed by M's family, it stings to think that's not always the case. To feel judged. And I know a lot of people in my situation have dealt with serious issues - this is not serious. But it still really hurt my feelings. Anyway, it was a great, great Eid for 2.85 of the 3 days, with just a bit of a sour ending.
What about you all - how did you spend your Eid?
|Chicken & Beef, spiced & threaded onto skewers.|
|Mian at work. We brought this barbeque grill from Pakistan so we could make bihari kabob even more authentically. It took almost an entire suitcase.|
|Overstocked dessert table.|
|My boys in their Eid finery, on their way to Party #2|