Eid is in the air. The blessed day of Eid al-Ad'ha and Eid al-Ghadeer have recently passed, and the days of Eid al-Mubahila are upon us. Around the same time as our blessed holidays this year also fell the western "holidays" of Halloween and Thanksgiving. Working in a full time Islamic school, I was able to take note of the "excitement" regarding each holiday among our young Muslims and their families.
It seems that we are losing the spirit of our holidays and not teaching our children the importance of them. Students were more eager to dress up and get candy from strangers than to get together with their community for Eid day. It was also quite unfortunate to hear parents themselves saying they were not taking their kids out of school, Eid being on a weekday, and saying "It's not that important."
I began to wonder, would a devout Christian ever allow their child to be in school or their family members to be working on Christmas day? How about on Thanksgiving Day? Or perhaps on Easter?
Our schools give holidays – sometimes even more than one day – in order to allow families to celebrate and spend time together. Fortunately, most schools do not object to taking "religious holidays", so what is our excuse? If we continue to give no importance to our Islamic holidays, what will our state be like in the years to come? Will our children – when they will grow up and run our community centers – not have time or not care to organize the Eid prayer because they will say, "It's not important, or even wajib"?
The less importance we give to our holidays, the less we will celebrate what Allah has asked for us to enjoy! As we recite in our Eid prayer, "...I beseech You in the name of this day, which You have decided to be a celebration for the Muslims..." This is a day made for us. We need to "hype" up our holidays so our future generations will continue the traditions and teach it to their future generations. Just because we are living in a non-Islamic culture and society does not mean we should sacrifice our basic beliefs, values, and even holidays. It is our decision, as parents, families, and community members, to make our Eid holidays count.
It can start in our homes and community centers. Throw an Eid party for the kids. Have cupcakes, candy, and other special food for the kids. Play games that teach information and facts about Eid – a word-search or hangman with prizes. Gift exchanges are great ideas for kids to get excited and look forward to any Eid.
Celebrating and commemorating are important parts of our Islamic values. By celebrating and commemorating events, we are inspired to remember the important events and lives that were dedicated to serving Allah. By remembering and commemorating these things, our children and future generations will continue the traditions and enjoy the commands of Allah.