Part of making the Eid celebration special includes removing those obstacles that lead to stress and frustration and may ruin your eid ideas. This can range from getting lost on the way to prayers to discovering an unsightly stain on new clothes at the last minute.
Preparing a day and more in advance helps stave off potential problems, allowing everyone to enjoy the holiday in style and calm. Here are 20 things you can do to make the Eid celebration happy and comfortable for all.
1. Get your vehicle ready the night before.
Fill up the gas tank, get the car cleaned inside and out, and plug in the address of Eid prayer into whatever app or system you use. This is if your community will be praying in a place you have not visited before. All of this should not take you more than an hour to do, but it can save you a lot of frustration on Eid morning. Imagine getting into a dirty car and discovering that you have an empty gas tank, or that your phone is dead and you have no clue how to get to the new hall your Masjid rented for Eid prayers.
2. Hold an Eid dress rehearsal beforehand.
Have everyone try on their clothes at least two nights before Eid to inspect them for tears, stains, and anything else unsightly. This gives you time to run out and buy something else instead of getting a nasty surprise the day of. Also check that any matching shoes or jewelry are ready.
3. Prepare clothes at least two nights before.
Once the clothes have been picked out, waste no time ironing and hanging them up, or getting them dry cleaned. Doing this beforehand helps you get everything ready while you’re still calm, thus less likely to burn the clothes in a last minute ironing rush.
Also, set out masks with your clothes and shoes, so you’re not scrambling for them at the last minute.
4. Set the Eid breakfast table the night before.
Setting bowls, plates, and utensils, along with some balloons and an Eid celebration banner over the table is a nice way to set the tone for the morning of Eid ul Adha. Doing it the night before reduces the morning rush as you’re scrambling to get everything else ready.
5. Explain how to perform the Eid prayer.
Familiarize yourself and your family with the Eid prayer, which is performed differently from the five daily Salat. While the Imam almost always explains it beforehand, the noise level in the Masjid or hall may make it impossible to hear.
6. Split up the kids for Eid prayer.
For families with young children, decide which kids will go with which parent the day before Eid prayers. One way of doing this is by separating the siblings who fight the most. Another is by keeping the girls with mom and the boys with dad. Or babies (birth to three years) with mom and older kids with dad. Every family is unique so parents can decide how to split up the kids. Regardless of how it's done, the point is to reduce disruption.
7. Talk to the younger kids about proper behavior.
Explain to them before going that while Eid is a time of happiness, fun, and celebration, it is not appropriate to run, jump, shout and play hide-and-seek with other kids at the prayer place. Throwing in an enticing reward (i.e. a promise to go out for ice cream or the park later that day if they behave) may also encourage kids to save the fun and games for after prayers.
Also explain that they must sit still and be quiet during the explanation of the prayer, during the prayer, and the Khutba that follows. Advise them to whisper in Mommy or Daddy's ear if they need anything and must talk to them.
8. Talk to older kids about proper behavior.
They may be sitting quietly, but that may be because they’re too busy texting to listen to the Imam’s Eid sermon. Make a “no phones during Eid prayer and Khutbah” rule, and take it away if they don’t respect the rule. Also remind them gently, but firmly, the rules about making eye contact with others when speaking to them, hugging those they know and don’t know, as well as those they like and dislike. If they are old enough and it’s relevant, a discussion about “lowering the gaze” might also be in order, along with respectful behavior toward the opposite sex.
9. Take a bag to put your shoes in.
This way, you can freely move around if necessary to straighten up your line in prayer, since you won't be worrying about where you've put your shoes. Have each family member make their own bag. Have the younger kids decorate theirs. Everyone should put their initials on the bag and remember to carry it with them at all times.
10. Take your own rugs or sheets with you to pray.
Although arrangements are usually made to have a sheet or paper to pray on, encourage everyone in your family to bring their own, just in case.
11. Take extra clothes, dry snacks, drinks, and quiet toys for small kids.
These will prove invaluable should the baby leak through her brand new Eid clothes in the car or the toddler starts complaining about hunger or thirst right before prayer begins. A book or quiet toy per child will also prove invaluable if the kids start becoming antsy during the Khutba. Avoid electronic devices if you can, but if you can’t, make sure the sound is turned off so you don’t disturb everyone’s Eid prayer.
12. Visit the bathroom before leaving.
This is a must, especially for kids under 10. Getting to bathrooms in the midst of a huge crowd can mean an “accident” or missing Eid prayer altogether.
13. Say the Takbirat in the car.
In particular, have the younger kids lead it with everyone else following. This way, their energy and excitement will dissipate and they won't be so hyper at the Eid prayer place.
14. Be quiet while the Imam is explaining how to pray.
Out of respect for those who may not know how to perform Eid prayer, remain silent or at least whisper so as not to disturb those trying to hear the Imam’s explanation of how to do so.
15. Straighten your lines in prayer .
Make sure to stand shoulder to shoulder and in straight lines facing the Qibla for the Eid prayer.
16. Be quiet during the khutba.
After the Eid prayer, the Imam will give a brief Khutbah. It is highly encouraged to stay and listen to it. Even if you do have to get up and leave, this should be done as quietly as possible so as not to disturb those who are listening.
17. Greet those whom you know and those you don't.
A man once asked Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, what aspect of Islam was the best, and he said, “You should provide food, and greet both those you know and those you do not” (Bukhari, Muslim).
Say Salam and hug the person next to you once the Khutba is over. Isn't it ironic that we stand so physically close to someone in prayer (shoulder to shoulder) but completely ignore them once it's over? Hug your prayer neighbor and at least wish them Eid Mubarak.
If they are alone, invite them over or get their phone number and inform them of any Eid activities that are coming up in your community. They may be new to the community and know nobody, so be as open and friendly as possible.
18. Contribute to the Eid prayer arrangements.
Some places may pass around a box seeking donations to cover the cost of renting the Eid prayer place (which is usually tens of thousands of dollars). Give generously.
19. Look for the Muslim leadership and volunteer corps and congratulate them.
How often do you see Muslims thanking their leaders and volunteers, those who work so hard for the community with minimal to no pay? Seek these people out and give them your Eid greetings. Thank them for all of their hard work for the community. Make sure your older children do the same.
20. Get the family to help out with clean up.
Volunteer to help clean up the prayer area after everyone has left. This is also a time when you may see Muslims who don't have family in the community or are new Muslims. Greet them and invite them over, or at least inform them of any upcoming Eid activities.