Eid is usually family time, so it's hard for those of us who are on our own, whether we're single, in a new city, or away from our families for whatever reason on this blessed day.
While the Muslim community is responsible for taking care of each other, sadly, that is not always the case. Many people simply choose to become absorbed in their own family matters to the exclusion of everyone and everything else.
But there are ways to retain the joy of Eid while we're on our own. Here are a couple of ideas.
1. Make sure to take the day off
It may be easier to hide our loneliness by burying ourselves in work or studying, but this will hardly help our faith grow. Talk to your employer if you need a day off work well in advance and make sure Eid day is clear.
2. Arrange to attend Eid prayers with a friend or group of friends
It can be intimidating going to Eid prayers alone, especially when seeing most everyone else hugging legions of family members Eid Mubarak! after prayers. Go with a friend or group of friends. Make sure to greet each other with an enthusiastic Eid greeting after prayers. Do the same to those you see standing alone in the mosque or prayer hall.
3. Clean and decorate the house
Even if all you've got is a tiny apartment which doesn't really give you much space to work with, decorate it anyway. You can use balloons, banners, lights, streamers, the works. Make sure to listen to some inspiring Eid songs as you decorate.
4. Hold an open house at your place on Eid Day
Visiting others is nice, but why not host an open house for at least part of Eid day? Keep it simple. If you like to cook, great. If not, order some pizza, buy some dip and vegetables, bake a cake from a mix and call it day. The point is to meet people and infuse some Eid spirit into your day. Then send out an Evite to friends and acquaintances or use the good, old-fashioned phone.
If you've got some time and the inclination, making a couple of Eid loot bags might be a nice idea, especially if some of your potential guests have kids.
5. 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.
6. Clean the car
The weekend before Eid, get it cleaned and washed inside out. Put in some nice smelling car deodorizer to add to the ambience. You'll feel like a million bucks (okay, maybe a couple of thousand) in your nice, clean car driving to Eid prayers.
7. 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.
8. Feed the hungry
Sharing food with the hungry is a hallmark of Eid-ul-Adha in particular. If you can't arrange to go to a farm to sacrifice your own share of meat to distribute with the needy, help out at a shelter or soup kitchen for part of Eid day.
9. At the end of a great day, send Eid ecards, text message and/or poke your friends
Go ahead, poke your friends on Facebook, send a fun text message on your cell phone or send Eid ecards. Spread the joy of this blessed day!