When I was very young, Eid used to offer me a distinctive impression of delight. Whenever I overheard my parents planning in the next room keeping the Eid festival ahead, I got goosebumps. I would find myself with my arms raised and shaking them faster than maracas for a minute or so in excitement. For my better education and father’s occupation, we used to live miles away from our village where all my relatives and friends lived. And my family could not afford to visit them often as it would hamper my study. But whenever the news of visiting my village reached my ears, my heart would fill with joy and excitement imagining- just a few days and I would not have to study or be under strict rules.
Eid was the best vacation for me when I enjoyed the most as my parents bought me new dresses and all my relatives would be there, which never happened except for the two Eid vacations. Between the two Eids, I used to have more fun during Eid-ul-Azha than Eid-ul-Fitr as we sacrificed animals and had the chance to eat as much meat as we wanted. Because there was plenty to eat. However, I did not know back then that seven of our relatives as a group had to buy one animal for sacrifice after going through a lot of troubles as we could not afford to buy one animal each. As I was merely a child then, so I did not know the story behind this.
Another memory still astounds me, whenever I asked my father in an affectionate tone to buy a bigger cow this time, just like my friend Asif`s father used to buy, my father would only agree with me with a big smile. He never would tell me that we could not afford it.
After praying in Eidgah, we literally ran to our school field to see the sacrificing ritual. Although I was a 9-10 years old boy, I was not afraid of the graphic views of animal sacrifice. When the meat was cut and shared among my relatives, my father used to take one big portion and distribute among the poor who could not be a part of this ritual. I, as a little boy, always wondered why he had to do so.
When the distribution was over, it was now my mother’s turn to take it from there. She would hurriedly cook for us because we were all waiting for her to finish his cooking and serve us meat. My mother would never eat with us, although she cooked by herself. She would serve us food and when we were finished, she would eat with my grandmother and aunt.
My childhood memory of Eid may deviate from others’ stories. But the excitement, emotion, and socialization perhaps remained the same among us.
Now, we are all grownups. We live a different life. Maybe we are now fathers and mothers. Maybe our children find their delight in a different way. But we will never forget what Eid gave and taught us.
It taught- still teaches- us that love is the sacrifice. The sacrifice is only symbolic, the meet does not reach to the Almighty, nor will the blood, but what reaches Him is piety of us. (22:37)
May this Eid bring happiness to everyone. May we try to be the reason of happiness for those who could not be a part of this by sharing whatever we have.