Eid has always been one of my favourite times of the year. I’ve often described myself as a child at Christmas in the days leading up to and the day of the festival. It’s always been a time where my cam I’ll my family and I have come together to celebrate the occasion, making sure that our bellies are constantly full throughout the day. The week leading up to the day has us going through our wardrobes and seeing what special outfit we can put together for the day. Growing up, Eid was always a happy and joyous time and remains the same to this day. So you can imagine how upset I was when I found out that I would sspendingEid-ul-Fitr in 2014 and Eid-ul-Adha in 2015 by myself in foreign countries while I was on my year abroad at University.
Luckily both Eids were absolutely lovely days, made even more entertaining by the fact that I was celebrating in different countries.
My first Eid away from home was while I was working in Paris. A friend I had made there set me up with a friend if hers who picked me up and took me to a Parisian suburban town where I spent three days with her and her family, celebrating Eid Moroccan style.spraying in the town’s mosque was so heartwarming, seeing a large number of Muslims United in worshipping Allah. I’ve never seen so many Muslims congregated in one place…and I’ve prayed Eid prayers at the London central mosque a few times. My second Eid while studying in Berlin was spent with my sister in 30-degree heat, hopping from different eating establishments, treating ourselves to gourmet burgers, waffles, and an ice cream fondue. So as you can see, celebrating Eid away from home does not have to be a lonely affair. The experience of Eid in a foreign country can be a role-playing and cultural experience, so here are my tips on how you too can have a wonderful and memorable Eid even if you are away from home.
Spend some time in your local mosque and pluck up the courage to talk to strangers. Ask them someone at the mosque what usually happens in the city during Eid to find out of there is anything you can get involved in. Ask them what they have planned and maybe through all this conversation you could end up with an invite for Eid lunch. I met my friend that organised for me to go to her friend’s for Eid at the central mosque in Paris. I saw her and a couple of friends in the mosque, approached them and a couple of weeks later I had two invitations to spend Eid with two different families.
If you are living abroad, no doubt you have plenty of friends and family that have said that they will come and visit you at some point. Suggest to them that they come around Eid time so at least you have a friendly face to spend the time where with.
Maybe friends you’ve made who are from a different, new country or your colleagues that are non-Muslim and have never experienced Eid, wouldn’t mind joining you in the festivities. Invite them round to your place and show them what Eid is all about. Cook for them your favourite celebratory dishes and enjoy the day all together.
If you end up having to spend Eid by yourself, you don’t have to make it a lonely experience. Use the day to have some ‘me time’. Spend the day doing that bit of sightseeing that you haunt managed to get done yet. Indulge in a meal for one in a lovely restaurant. Or head out for a spot of retail therapy.
There are always many wonderful sisters to meet in the mosque, some can often be quite confident too, so you won’t feel too shy about approaching her. Strike up a conversation, ask to go for a coffee in the local park, or find an Eid Fayre, in the festive spirit people are normally warm and welcoming. You may even end up getting invited to an Eid party or invite to a private family gathering. Allah (swt) also provides in places and times in the most unexpected ways, put on your best outfit, take a step outside your door, deep breathe, make a dua, and see where the day (or Allah) takes you.