Saturday, October 04, 2008

Little Angelas Love to Play

So, as promised, here is the story of how my Little Angela spent her first Eid in a faraway land named Dubai:
To start, let me give some background about how we tend to do Eid when we live as a minority, i.e. in Canada or the U.S. The community focus in this case tends to be about making it special for the little kids. Since the rest of the world is going about their day-to-day business and there are no pretty lights in the street or Santa's in the malls, we do everything we can to make little kids feel like it's a special day. Also, since most of the Muslim population in Canada or the U.S. is living far away from their immediate,or at least extended, family, visiting family is replaced with community get-togethers.
When I was little, we had some very good friends who would have a 'Eid Open House' party every year, and just about the whole Ottawa Muslim community would end up at Uncle Sulayman and Aunt Rafi's house at some point during the course of the day,and we'd eat tons of roti and cake and play on the swings in backyard. Now, whereas I had loads of fun, I can imagine the day was always exhausting for Aunt Rafi and Uncle Sulayman. Eventually, this activity shifted to renting the hall where the Eid prayer took place in the morning for the remainder of the remainder of the day so the families could all visit their together without anyone's house getting taken over (plus the community was really becoming enormous), and different community associations would take on the task of running games for the kids and arranging for yummy food and every other thing you'd want to have around at Eid.
What this means is that, when Little Angela was born almost three years ago, her Eid celebration included a pile of presents and new clothes and yummy food, but also that immediately following Eid prayer in the morning, the hall was transformed into a child's version of heaven, with circus games and magic shows and balloons and those crazy blowup castles with slides that kids love so much,and Little Angela would spend all day running around and playing and looking and doing everything her little heart desired until she fell asleep from sheer exhaustion, and this was Eid...
Now, in the middle-East, where just about everyone's in on it and the streets are decorated and everyone gets the three days off work, Eid tends to go more like this: they do the new clothes and lots of candy and presents thing too, but they go to the prayer as a family in a mosque, not a rented hall, and then they go to visit family and close friends and just generally spend the day together... no day-long child's heaven circus included.
Little Angela was devastated. Where was her beloved Eid? Balloon's? Blowup Castles? Magician's? Animals? My understanding is that the poor thing cried and that eventually they took her to a kids playground (in doors of course, the heat is brutal), and my brother in law ended up gathering all the kids around and telling them a story, and then invited Little Angela to join in the storytelling. Which she did. For a few seconds. Before she decided she'd rather sing ABCDEFG to her delighted audience of children...
Good God, I miss that child.

3 comments:

xup said...

Why are they there again? Work? Will they ever come back?

noha said...

They are indeed there for work. It's a permanent position, not a contract, so it's open-ended. Still too early to tell how long they'll be there... I miss them like crazy but I have to say, I'm glad they're starting to feel more settled down and acclimatized to the place...

citizen of the world said...

That's hard - I'm sorry you're having to miss them.