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by Abdul Malik Mujahid
For those who have Muslim families celebrating Eid with them, it's easy to enjoy this blessed day. For others though, Eid can be a lonely affair.
For instance, if you're a new Muslim, while other Muslims happily hug their parents, spouses or kids and wish them "Eid Mubarak", you may be left standing in the prayer hall, alone.
Also, if you're a recent immigrant or student here with family back home, Eid day can be depressing, since you'll be missing your family and feeling there is little reason to celebrate.
Or, you could have just moved to another city and are unfamiliar with the local Muslim community. That means standing aside as those who know one another hug and share Eid greetings.
Muslims have a great tradition of hospitality, but during the short Eid salat time, there is a whole lot people have to attend to. They may be just shy or busy with children. Maybe it is you who need to take an initiative.
Here are some ideas to help you avoid experiencing the Eid blues:
1. Go as often as you can to the mosque
This is a great way to meet other Muslims on a regular basis. Participate in Masjid activities, whether it's classes, Iftars during Ramadan or other programs. If other Muslims see you often enough, you can strike up a conversation after prayers and become friends or at least good acquaintances with some. Then you can make arrangements to see each other on Eid day.
2. Help out at the mosque
This is not only a great way to gain the blessings of Allah, but it's also how you can get to know other Muslims more closely. You can, for instance, work with the Masjid administration, asking them if there is anything you can do to help with the mosque's activities or administration. Or you can suggest the next idea
3. Be an "usher" on Eid day
Being an usher means working with other volunteers as a representative of the mosque, to make sure lines are straight for prayers, kids are babysat and things generally run smoothly on Eid day.
4. Look for others in your situation
The pool of people you'll meet on Eid day will be even greater than the number you meet at the mosque regularly, as many more Muslims turn out for Eid prayers. Take advantage of this. Look for the other brothers/sisters who you notice standing awkwardly apart from everyone else, and approach them. They are most probably missing relatives or new in the community. Invite them over and spend the day with them.
5. Plan ahead
This can't be stressed enough. Planning ahead for Eid has two advantages.
First, if you come up with a couple of ideas of what you want to do on Eid day, you'll have enough time to plan for them. For example, let's say there's a brother/sister you know who works in the same department as you. You've exchanged Salams but haven't really gotten to know each other.
If you plan ahead, you can call them a few days in advance and arrange to hang out together on Eid day.
6. Take the day off from school/work
Got to do an experiment at the lab? Did the boss put you on the weekend shift? Rearrange your schedule. Eid can't really be special if you're working that day.
7. Read about the Sunnahs of Eid ul-Fitr and do them
This will enhance the spiritual significance of the day, and will remind you that Eid is not just a day off work or school but an important Muslim holiday.
8. Invite others over
Even if it's that Muslim classmate you don't know very well, invite them over. Also, invite a Muslim family. If you're a student, maybe you know or have a Muslim professor. Invite him/her and the family over. If they have kids, even better, since children add life to a party. Arrange to have Halal entertainment for them ready.
9. Visit relatives and friends
Maybe you have a Muslim relative or good friend two or three hours away who you rarely see because both of you are so busy. Go and visit them on Eid. And take a gift for them or at least an Eid card. If that's not possible visit those closer to home.
10. Buy and wear new clothes
Part of the Eid fun is getting new clothes. Buy new ones if you can afford them. If not, you must have at least one or two fancy outfits. Get them washed or dry cleaned and ironed for the big day.
11. Clean and decorate the house
Start off by clearing up the clutter and making the place spic and span. Decorations don't look particularly appealing in a dusty, disorganized home.
12. Enjoy saying the Takbirat
This is a great way to get into a good mood for Eid day. There are few things as enjoyable as praising Allah at the top of your lungs (just don't disturb your roommate/ the neighbors.And don't do this in the shower).
13. Go to the planetarium
If you're an astronomy or science buff, this is a great place to go with a friend, especially a Muslim one, to find out more about moonsighting and to marvel at Allah's creation of the planets, stars and galaxy.
14. Rejoice on the good you did this Ramadan or over the past year
Look back at all of the good Allah gave you the ability to do over the past Islamic year (Zul Hijjah is the last month of the Islamic calendar) by doing a quick self-evaluation. Did you start praying regularly? Did you work harder to treat your parents well. Were you a more conscientious student? Did you attend Taraweeh prayers regularly during Ramadan?
Whatever positive things you remember, thank Allah for them, especially on Eid day. This is a great way to lift your mood.
15. Give gifts
If you're on a tight budget, can you make something and give it to those you feel close to? It could be as simple as your first attempt at chocolate cake or a box of cookies. The point is to share and enjoy this blessed day with a fellow Muslim.
16. Call your family
Schedule a specific time to call your family and to wish them Eid Mubarak. Even if you feel lonely in your community, hearing your family's voice should give you a great boost on Eid day.
17. Send Eid cards
Sending Eid cards via e-mail or snail mail to family and friends on Eid day is a great way to keep your mind on the holiday. Don't just write a standard greeting on each card. Write a couple of lines, especially on cards for family and close friends, about how you've been doing, your hopes for them, and how you spent your Eid day.
18. Share Eid with your neighbors
Invite them over and serve them great food, some "ethnic" and some not too unfamiliar to them. If they are non-Muslims, explain briefly what Eid is about.
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