Thursday, 21 July 2011

Ayamkum Sa3eeda


Will it be tomorrow or the day after? That was the question.

The television told us, until the television told us we would be prepared for both possibilities, homework finished, school uniforms ready, schoolbags packed, just in case, at the same time the house cleaned, the kitchen filled with the aroma of baking, the visitor’s room ready and welcoming, also just in case.

In our dishdashas or baza pyjamas, peering through the windows willing the crescent to show itself to our pleading eyes, we would carefully keep note of the television waiting for the news, the official declaration, seen or not seen?

With the news over we would then either reluctantly creep up the stairs and get into bed, or scramble down begging to be allowed to stay up a little later as the theme music changed and "il layla 3eed" started playing to the background sparkly images.

The next morning we would rise very early, tumbling down the stairs to wish our parents “happy days” and get through the breakfast quickly so we could at last don our brand new clothes and shoes, garments bought or sewn several days or even weeks in advance specially for the occasion.

Looking our best and with parents eventually prepared (only when you get older do you realise how many other things the adults had to do before they could leave) the journeys would begin, it always seemed to be a race, carefully orchestrated and involving meticulous attention to hierarchy so younger members of the family (even if they were in their sixties) would visit the older ones, and in turn receive visits from those younger, the same applied at work so juniors greet their seniors, and so on, we would start with the neighbours in ever increasing circles of distance, tasting samples of every household’s pastries, and repaying with our own on the return visit.

After this there would be a visit to the relatives no longer with us, a special prayer for my grandfather, his father, and the uncles buried not far away, with the annual reminder of each and every one, their names, their achievements and the stories of their bravery.

Then it was time for the first half of the family members, those relatives living nearby, the first and second cousins, some with their own children, all in our new clothes, all under strict instructions to “behave well”, “speak politely”, “thank everyone profusely for the 3eedyia” (gifts or traditionally coins given to children by older relatives in Eid), “never take more than one Mackintosh sweet” (why was it always Quality Street) even if offered repeatedly, and “under no circumstances get our new clothes dirty!”

At lunch time we would congregate at my grandmother’s house. A large meal, lots more people, gifts for the children and often a special television film.

In the evening the cycle would continue, with the slightly more distant relatives, who also lived slightly further away, the visits becoming briefer, the sweets and pastries much less tempting now, with many more istikans of chai to help digest the various parts of the meals.

By the second day our list of visitors and visits would be getting shorter, and our patience in waiting to spend our money would be shorter still.

A trip to Luna Park, a special toy, and many sweets later and becoming rather uncomfortable in the not-so-new clothes, and the not-so-comfortable shoes the days of celebration would rapidly come to an end.

And tomorrow we would go back to school, back to friends, to compare notes, to compare 3eedyias and gifts, and to take whatever was left of the pastries to who ever could manage another one the day after the Eid.

If you celebrated today or if you are celebrating tomorrow, have a good Eid, and for our country and people may the year ahead bring liberty, peace and prosperity.

A&Eiraqi said...
اسعد الله ايامك و كل عام و انت بخير
13 October 2007 09:21

saminkie said...
ayamkum sa3eeda....nice post...i like it when you talked about the BAZA pijamas...
13 October 2007 15:32

3eeraqimedic said...
Glad you liked it, it was very much as usualy influenced by Yasmin of noomehillo.
Ah yes brushed cotton never brings back memories like baza does!!
14 October 2007 00:50

Yasmin (Blanche) said...
3eeraqi Medic,
i miiiis el Bejama el resembles the good ooold days..
Kol am wente bekher my dear..
16 October 2007 07:57

3eeraqimedic said...
It is always the little things
best wishes for a better year
16 October 2007 18:56

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