Eid-ul-Fitr in Birmingham

The celebrations for the festival of Eid-ul-Fitr actually begin on the 29th of Ramadan. There is always tense excitement in our house; everyone gets excited. We always get prepared for the phone calls.

Dad is an official at our mosque so people ring us up to ask if we have received a message from Saudi Arabia. Our local mosque is also busy with phone calls asking if it is Eid next day. Sometimes a group of men from the mosque go to nearby hills, because if it is a cloudy night, the moon can be seen clearer from a height. It is the sighting of the moon which tells us it is Eid. When the news arrives everyone is really excited and we begin to give positive answers to the phone calls we receive. Mom breaks the news to the neighbours and the excitement is spread around.

Those of us who have fasted for a whole month have proper reason for all the excitement but the youngest members of the family, Nusrat and Mussarat, who didnít fast, but who had been part of the fast in the sense that they had spent the days amongst seven people going without food and drink, were more excited than us. They sensed the excitement was for something special and so became restless. They stayed awake until late on the night before Eid because there was bustle going on around the house. Dad was at the mosque and he was not really as excited as us. Mom, Baji and Asmat were busy in the kitchen sorting out the food. Me and Fameedah had bought it during the day, just in case it was Eid. We had decided it was better to be safe than sorry. Mom sorted out what was going to be cooked and was helped by suggestions from Baji and Asmat. They got to work on the dishes that needed to be prepared overnight. As they were busy in the kitchen Iffat was linishing off the ironing. She had ironed some of the new clothes during the day.

The actual day of Eid began very early after the excitement of the night before. Dad, me, Iffat and Fameedah went to the mosque to pray and Mom and Baji carried on with the cooking. The house was cleaned and everyone wished Nusrat and Mussarat would keep out of the way because there was plenty of work to be done, but as they were so excited there was no holding them back. They kept getting in everyoneís way asking when Eid was going to start, as they thought there was a set time when the celebration for the festival should begin.

When we returned from the mosque and Dad had paid Fitrana, which he had to pay for all nine of us, Mom was still in the kitchen and Nusrat and Mussarat were getting impatient. When everything was finished we all dressed in our new clothes. This is probably what Nusrat and Mussarat were waiting for. When they got into their new clothes they felt Eid had started.

When we were all ready we went visiting for part of the time and received visitors for the rest of the time. On this day each year we see people we havenít met for a long time. Me and Iffat went delivering our Eid cards and stayed with friends for a bit. Other friends came down to our house and the house was full of noise. We all eat on this day and those who want exchange presents. We canít always visit everyone we want to so Mom sent me, Iffat and Fameedah to a few houses with dishes for the people we hadnít seen. Most of the day we spent with friends.

As the day drew to a close and the family were all back together again we just sat around talking about what we had done during the day and who we had seen. The noise dies down now and everyone feels tired. Nusrat and Mussarat, of course, didnít want Eid to end and didnít want to go to bed. Me, Baji and Asmat, Iffat and Fameedah all got together before we went to bed and talked for a bit but we soon felt tired and decided to call it a day.

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