Pin It
Sunday, November 14th, 2010

Eid-ul-Adha Family Traditions

By

With the approach of Eid-ul-Adha this year, it felt like a good time to reflect on some of the family traditions that we had begun as a family and some of the ones that my husband and I had brought with us from our own childhoods.

Eid-ul-Adha is one of two Eids that Muslims celebrate around the world. The first is Eid-ul-Fitr which celebrates the fact that we have fasted for a month during the Muslim month of Ramadan. The second celebrates the Prophet Ibrahim’s (Abraham’s) willingness to sacrifice his beloved son for the Lord who was even more beloved to him and God’s mercy in sparing that son.

As a child in London, the two Eids set the parameters of what celebration meant for us: new clothes, lots of special foods, getting away with misbehaviour because the grown-ups were not allowed to tell us off, going visiting and a visit to the corner shop to spend our Eid money on as many sweets as we could get our hands on. For my husband who grew up in Lahore, Pakistan, Eid meant pretty much the same, just on a far larger scale.

Many years later however, we seem to have lost some of the simplicity around the celebration. Eid seems to have become far more about expensive gifts, special events and parties and perhaps compensating for other things. Growing up as children in a religious Muslim family, my parents discouraged participation in Christmas festivities and we always felt like we were missing out on the fun. As an adult and a religious person, I can see why my parents did not want us to join in the Christmas fun. There is a saying of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) that:

“Whoever imitates a people is one of them.” (Narrated by Abu Dawood).

As a parent, I wanted to raise my children in my faith, but without banning everything left, right and centre. This being the case, my golden rule is that if I discourage something, I have to replace it with something better. So instead of Christmas in our home, we go the extra mile for Eid. I make cards to distribute and banners and bunting for the house. We put up lights and balloons. We send sweets and a card to each of our children’s classes. I spend the year stashing away gifts for everyone and prizes and goodies for loot bags for our rowdy annual Eid party.

Until this year that is. I realised that there is such a thing as over-compensating. Eid is no longer fun when it becomes too much work and the expense becomes a burden. Islam encourages simplicity and thoughtfulness and so this year I have decided to focus not on spending lots of money to make Eid enjoyable, but to spend my time to recreate some of our childhood traditions and to enjoy some of the traditions we have created with our children.

As the Islamic calendar is lunar, a holiday starts the evening before, so our Eid will start in the evening and run to the next evening. I will spend the evening trying to recreate my mother-in-law’s famous rice pudding which she cooks for hours for my husband. I will call everyone I know to wish them “Eid Mubarak” (blessed Eid). I will pop over to my Mum’s so that I, my daughter and my sisters can decorate our hands with henna. After we have put the kids to bed, my husband and I will go for a stroll so that he can buy me bangles to match my new clothes (it is traditional in Lahore for men to buy their wives gifts on Eid night and particularly colourful bangles). I will get up early the next day and make cupcakes for the children’s breakfast and vermicelli in milk (a dish called sevaiya) for my husband. While my husband and two little boys go for their Eid prayers in the morning, my daughter and I will glam up. We will have lunch at my Mum’s which is everyone’s favourite part of the day and then go to visit family and friends while the children watch cartoons with an indulgent aunty watching over them. I will leave the kids with their aunty and spend the afternoon with my husband cooking for the whole extended clan who are invited for the evening meal. Finally, I’ll sit down to my evening meal and relax while everyone else clears everything away.

That is the plan anyway. The kids have asked how many gifts they are getting and on being told one each, they have been looking a bit dubious. I am hoping that we make the day so much fun that they don’t mind too much about the number of things they receive. I also hope to remind them why we celebrate–the emphasis on the willingness to make great sacrifices and the love and mercy between each of us and Al-Wadud (the Most Loving–one of the attributes Muslims perceive God through). A day of celebration is wonderful when we have family, good food, our best clothes and gifts, but it is even more of a pleasure when we imbue our celebrations with a sense of something not just fun but deeply spiritual.

© 2010 – 2013, Umm Salihah. All rights reserved.

More Great Stuff You'll Love:


The West's Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep

How the West sleeps is different from the rest

Ten Reasons Parents Should Read Multicultural Books to Kids

Why it's critical all parents read books that reflect diversity

Ramadan Star and Moon Craft

A craft recycled from your kid's art work!

Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan

Colleague drank your breast milk from the work fridge again? Tales of breastfeeding in Mongolia

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Umm Salihah is a hijab-loving, working mum of three dirty-faced angels (Little Lady - 7, Little Man - 5, Gorgeous - 3 years) as well as being big sister to Long-Suffering sister, Fashionista sister, Kooky little sister and the Invisible Man who between them keep her sane and entertained. She is the lady of the house in a home full of children, extended relatives, in-laws, guests and friends and works full time in policy and service improvement in local government in England. She mainatins a personal blog and is raising her children Muslim.

Leave us a comment!

9 Comments
  1. CommentsMubarak Secrets You Never Knew   |  Monday, 15 November 2010 at 1:06 am

    […] Eid-ul-Adha Family Traditions | InCultureParent […]

  2. CommentsPut Mubarak to work for you! » Mubarak, Hosni, President, Bush, Egypt, Adha » Websitelist24.com   |  Monday, 15 November 2010 at 4:02 am

    […] Eid-ul-Adha Family Traditions | InCultureParent […]

  3. CommentsThe best Mubarak of all worlds.   |  Monday, 15 November 2010 at 8:30 am

    […] Eid-ul-Adha Family Traditions | InCultureParent […]

  4. CommentsLife for Relief and Development, Udhiyah time in Gaza.wmv   |  Monday, 15 November 2010 at 10:00 am

    […] Eid-ul-Adha Family Traditions | InCultureParent […]

  5. CommentsWorld Spinner   |  Monday, 15 November 2010 at 10:20 am

    Eid-ul-Adha Family Traditions | InCultureParent…

    Here at World Spinner we are debating the same thing……

  6. CommentsFor the Eid Mubarak lover.   |  Monday, 15 November 2010 at 3:52 pm

    […] Eid-ul-Adha Family Traditions | InCultureParent […]

  7. CommentsTodays Eid Mubarak are tomorrows Eid Mubarak.   |  Monday, 15 November 2010 at 4:14 pm

    […] Eid-ul-Adha Family Traditions | InCultureParent […]

  8. Commentsclaire niala   |  Friday, 25 February 2011 at 3:57 pm

    whilst i respect your parents decision for you not join in the christmas fun i am not sure that ‘whoever imitates a people (always) becomes one of them’. when i was growing up in kenya there was a lot of religious tolerance and often non-muslims would fast in solidarity with muslims during ramadhan (i did so myself for a few years in my early teens). this didn’t see them becoming muslims but increased their respect and understanding of the religion. i have many fond memories of wonderful meals opening the fast with my muslim friends. now as a parent my daughter and i are happy to partake of celebrations of many different traditions ours or not. i feel it is a great way for her to learn about other cultures in a positive way.

  9. CommentsInCultureParent | Fall Traditions and Celebrations Around the World   |  Tuesday, 19 November 2013 at 8:19 pm

    […] Eid-Al-Adha is the celebration at the end of Hajj, Muslims’ annual pilgrimage to Mecca, commemorating Ibrahim’s (Abraham’s) devotion to God by his willingness to sacrifice his son and God’s mercy in sparing his son. Although Eid fell in the fall this year, it is not a fixed fall festival as its lunar holiday, shifting earlier each year. You can read more about Eid traditions here. […]









Notify me of follow-up comments via e-mail.
Or leave your email address and click here to receive email notifications of new comments without leaving a comment yourself.

Get weekly updates right in your inbox so you don't miss out!



A Children's Book for Raising Global Citizens

Every life is a story. It’s easier to understand someone when you know their story.

Why I Travel 13 Hours Alone with My Kids Every Chance I Get

Travelling with children, while definitely more of a mission, contradicts the old saying that “life is about the journey, not the destination.”

A Diverse Book for Preschoolers in Celebration of Multicultural Children's Book Day

A book that honestly and simply celebrates the every day diversity that children experience.

Why My African Feminist Mother Gave Me the Identity of My Father's Tribe

She gave me an identity so different from her own.

2 Children’s Books about Jamaica

Explore Jamaica with your child.

Costa Rica with Kids: Two Weeks of Family Travel

Two weeks of Pura Vida in a country with so much to offer families.

Should I Worry about My Child's Accent in Her Foreign Language?

See why Dr. Gupta takes offense to this question and where children learn accents from

How to raise trilingual kids when exposure to Dad's language is limited

My kids only get 1-2 hours of the minority language per day-help!
Unfortunately, the school and community are no longer there. The farm is being sold and there are tentative plans for a new iteration to be set up in Costa Ric...
From How I Moved to Thailand with my Family on Less than $1000
HI! I love your website! Just read your review of books that teach about culture and food! I can't wait to try some of the recipes you've share...
From Armenian Recipe: Apricot Tart
Please, refrain from using "western /western society" for anglosaxon countries. Western can be Mexico and Spain as well, anything on the west side of the world is western ...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
We've tried to make use of, but It doesn't works by any mean...
From African Parenting: The Sane Way to Raise Children
I'm back. Sorry, I stopped caring for this magazine for a while and forgot to discuss the meat of the matter. This article, as well as the linked article from 2011, fails to discuss cultural norms ...
From What Confused Me Most about Brits
Fascinating. I have been to Germany and met this guy who was soo rude! This article explains everything!! Since all Germans are so terribly rude it should come as no surprise that I should have met ...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
@ Josep. How could you possibly comment on how Germans treat people if you have never even been there? A three-day stay in Berlin and a one day stop-over in Frankfurt was enough for me to see the ut...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
I am trying to find a Sikh triangular Nishan Sahib flag and haven't found one. Do you know where I can find on...
From Vaisakhi Craft: Make a Flag
I have tried to buy a Sikh triagular Nishan Sahib flag and had no luck. Do you know where I can find on...
From Vaisakhi Craft: Make a Flag

More The Religious Life of Children