By: Dania Ahmed
In this blog I’m going to take you along with me on the day of Eid al Adha that I celebrated on Friday, July 31st, 2020. But before we get ahead of ourselves, what is Eid al Adha?
Eid-ul-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice) is a festival for Muslims which comes about ten weeks after Eid-ul-Fitr, and marks the completion of Hajj (Holy pilgrimage to Mecca). It is the festival of Sacrifice that commemorates the obedience of Prophet Ibrahim (as) and his son Prophet Ismail (as) to the commandment of Allah. Prophet Ibrahim (as) had a series of dreams in which he saw himself sacrificing his eldest son Ismail. He inferred that it was perhaps the will of God that he should sacrifice the life of his son. Prophet Ibrahim (as), being most obedient to God, was about to sacrifice the life of his son Ismail, when God commanded him to stop and gave him the good news that he had indeed fulfilled His command.
God was so pleased with Ibrahim because of his obedience that He multiplied his progeny into billions and instructed him to sacrifice a nearby goat instead. He was also given the great honor of being the forefather of the Holy Prophet of Islam (peace and blessings of God be upon him). On the day of Eid those Muslims who can afford to sacrifice an animal are enjoined to do so after Eid Prayer. Thus, it is clear how Eid al Adha has a significant historical importance for Muslims and why this day is celebrated in the Islamic tradition and regarded as sacred. Prophet Ibrahim (as) and his son’s unwavering commitment and devotion to God Almighty serves as a constant example and reminder to Muslims about what true sacrifice and love for God means.
Now traditionally Eid is celebrated for 3 days but this varies across different Muslim sects. For me and my family, we only really celebrate for one day (that happened to be July 31st this year) and for the other two days we find smaller celebratory actions to commemorate the occasion. So, here’s how it happened last Friday.
I woke up at 8 am to start getting ready for the occasion. Since my local mosques still were not open for hosting Eid prayer, my dad was going to lead the prayer at 10 am. Here is a picture of the outfit I wore:
Bright and early in the morning I curled my hair, put on all my glittering jewellery, and did my makeup to match my outfit, here’s a visual of how my henna, nails, and jewellery looked:
At 10:00 am I was all ready and went downstairs to read Eid prayer with my family, led by my father. We finished promptly at 10:20 am and although I was ready, my mother and two other sisters still needed a bit more time. By 11:00 am we set out to visit my grandfather’s grave – as we do every year on Eid except for the previous Eid when the coronavirus restricted our visit from happening. We were all very happy to have been able to visit my grandfather’s grave, he passed away six years ago in 2014 but is still missed dearly. This was the first time this year that I had been able to visit his grave and it made me feel at ease to have visited him.
After the graveyard, my family of 6 and I had to make our traditional Tim Hortons Eid run. Every Eid we have ever celebrated since I was a young girl has been marked with the consumption of Tim Hortons breakfast after Eid prayer – it is a must to get Tims on Eid! My favourite drink at Tim Hortons is the seasonal Oreo Iced Capp (I wish they would make it a permanent item on the menu 🙁 ) and so I got my medium drink and a chocolate chip cookie!
This Eid we decided to spend the day at my grandmother’s apartment in Toronto because she had an appointment with her doctor that my mother wanted to take her to at 2 pm. So, after Tims, we made our way to my grandmother’s home and picked up some Pakistani restaurant food (chicken kebabs and flatbread) for lunch. When my parents and grandmother returned from her doctor’s appointment, we set the table and had lunch. Here’s what it looked like:
We spent the rest of the day at my grandmother’s house, chatting up a storm and making many attempts at taking decent family photos, and then headed home at about 7:30 pm. My dad’s best friend of 40 years (and one of my favourite uncles) called him mid-way to let us know he would be stopping by at about 8:30 pm. So, once we got home, we began to prep for his arrival and cook him a nice meal. He stayed for about an hour or so and it was great seeing him again! After he left, we had our dinner, had dessert, played a few games, and head to bed.
Now it should be noted that this was a fairly unusual Eid for us, because of my grandmother’s appointment at her doctor’s office. Usually we have Eid at my house and my cousins and other relatives come over and my mother cooks a big traditional Pakistani meal but because of COVID-19, social distancing measures, and other circumstances it took a different shape this year. A central part of our Eid is the meal and my older sister is very adamant every year that my mother home cooks all of the traditional Eid menu items – so this year my mother did, but she did it on the next day of August 1st. Here’s what it looked like:
Essentially, the three main courses are meat rice, meat curry, and chicken roast – these three dishes are fundamental to the traditional Eid meal in my house. On this day we also stopped the ice cream truck that makes it’s way down my street every evening and we all got a sweet dessert. Enjoy this half eaten and half melted picture of my chocolate dip cone that I managed to snap:
All in all, my Eid-al Adha this year took place over the course of two days and it was really great. It was filled with all the things I love most – family, fun, and lotsss of food. What’s important to note is that this celebration does not only serve as a reminder of sacrifice, but it plays an important role in fostering community and solidarity in the Muslim community. It is a time that we come together as family and friends to appreciate all that we have been given by the grace of God Almighty. It is a beautiful time, and a celebration that I whole heartedly adore. 🙂
One thought on “A Day in the Life of a Muslim: Eid al Adha Edition”
I enjoyed reading this “journal entry” Dania! I really like reading about the different festivals and holy days of various religions because I have been only exposed to Catholicism all my life. It was only recently in the World Religions course I took last year during my first year of University that I really got to learn about the history, beliefs and traditions of the other religions. However, a textbook is a textbook… it is through pieces like your journal entry that am I able to truly know the experiences of these celebrations.
Reading your piece, I am able to understand the roots of Eid-ul-Adha in which the events the day commemorates is recounted in the Christian Old Testament and in the Sacred Texts of our Jewish brothers and sisters – it is a story shared among members of the Abrahamic religions. Another point I notice within Eid-ul-Adha is that it is a day of family and from what I can piece together now, the festivities of the Abrahamic religions revolve around the concept of the family, of the community. The reality is that no matter which religion we belong to, we are all on a journey in this life but at times we think we can go through life ourselves. Festivals like Eid-ul-Adha or the celebration of Easter in Christianity are times for us to reflect on the fact that we cannot live alone – we need the help and the accompaniment of other people in life.
Taking the time to learn about and understand other faith traditions are important because through that, we can have dialogue and understanding among others in our community and through that, we can better accompany one another in this journey of life.