Party season

October 26, 2023
3 min

As my friends at Tumble Tots tell me, we Muslims have already had ‘our Christmas’, also known as Eid.

The night before Eid, I took the children out to see the night sky, so they could appreciate that the celebration starts with a new moon. We couldn’t actually see the moon but this didn’t matter as Asim (3) and Amaani (2) were for more interested in what colour the stars could be. ‘I think they should be green’, suggested Asim. ‘I think purple’, said Amaani. And so it went on. I must admit I have always taken the colour of the stars for granted until now. I was pleased they were stretching their imagination at the same time as practising their colours but did feel they had missed the point somewhat. Safiyya (7) just wanted to know if we could see lots of her friends to celebrate.

This Eid we splashed out on some 25p balloons with ‘Happy Eid’ written on them. This worked out very well, far cheaper than a Play station, with no batteries required. They kept our kids –and plenty of others- amused for hours. The children’s nursery and school also seemed pleased to have an authentic Eid item - they always like to have traditional artefacts.

We spent the morning at the mosque and visiting friends. Well, to be precise, some of my time at the mosque was spent outside it, as Asim and Amaani decided to fight over who would sit in my lap during the khutba (sermon) and I felt the ensuing noise level and the escalating physical violence was not really conducive to the happy and spiritual atmosphere that others were attempting to enjoy. We spent late afternoon with friends and family. Asim tried to be a good host, checking periodically with our various non-Muslim neighbours who had dropped in, ‘are you having a happy Eid’? He wouldn’t take no for an answer!

In the middle of all the chaos, Asim requested Father Christmas but was quickly placated when told Father Christmas was for Christians. He’ll learn a little more soon enough. All the children had been to the Diwali celebration in the town centre in early November and Asim had subsequently become aware that some people blow up rockets in their back garden (fireworks), and some people burn others on the fire (Guy Fawkes) so finds that the world in general is a strange and mysterious place and sometimes it is best just to accept what happens. His Eid present was a personalised Toy Story book where he featured as one of the characters. Asim was initially very happy about this, but by bedtime was a little unsure: ‘But I don’t want to be Mr Potato Head, Mummy’, he told me tearfully. I reassured him that he didn’t have to be and that seemed to be sufficient to resolve this particular problem.

Safiyya was very excited with her Eid present of a Brownie outfit, so she can be a fully-fledged member of Brownies, the national organisation for young girls. It seems Brownie outfits have become very cool now, with hoodies and tracksuits and potentially a whole load of matching accessories that I don’t want Safiyya to know about. Gone are the brown bobble hats of my day. The day after Eid we went to her Brownie Promise ceremony, where Safiyya duly promised to love her God and serve the country (I think she would have agreed to anything if it meant getting new clothes) in addition to agreeing to do a good deed every day, especially at home. I am particularly excited about this aspect of the Promise and we have recorded the little ceremony on film so we can remind her of her commitment at regular intervals. The Brownies then laid on a little tea party. Elements of the ceremony bore striking similarities to the Muslim conversion (a statement, the witnesses, the certificate) although the Muslim testimony of faith is a lot shorter, and there is no guarantee of homemade cakes at the end. Asim was one of the witnesses to the Brownie Promise, and is now hoping to get a Brownie outfit next Eid, so he can be a Brownie when he becomes a big girl too.