And a Very Happy Eid To You

And a Very Happy Eid To You June 25, 2017
By Steve Evans
By Steve Evans

I woke up in the morning, showered, had breakfast with my boyfriend, we will shortly be leaving for our morning walk. The weather is fantastic out there. And today is Eid, but that fact feels entirely irrelevant to me. Of course, I did post the obligatory Eid Mubarak status on Facebook and I do sincerely want everyone who is celebrating to have a great time today. But Eid has ceased to mean much to me. I now only associate Eid with my childhood and teenage – it is a sweet memory, and any expectation that I should still continue celebrating is like asking me to recreate that memory, and I just can’t. I stopped celebrating Eid shortly after coming to Canada, I did try celebrating it, but it simply did not feel the same. Once in a blue moon, I still go out for an Eid brunch with family (depending on my mood), but it’s less about celebrating and more about eating good food for me. It doesn’t feel like some great special Eid brunch, it just feels like regular brunch.

Celebration of Eid here in Canada will never quite come close to a celebration for me. My cousins and my aunts and my uncles who I always celebrated with are not here, the anticipation and vibrancy of Eid is not found all over Toronto in the way that it was found all over Karachi, I no longer have anyone to really go out with and do Eid shopping with. And the stores and malls are not shining or brimming with the celebration and joy of Eid – there are no Eid sales or Eid cards everywhere. I also generally cannot be bothered to get henna done on my hands the night before Eid – an Eid tradition my cousins and I followed religiously. We would go to this place 15-20 minutes away from the area we lived in, and we would get henna done on our hands, there were 100’s of exquisite henna designs to choose from and we would let henna stay on our hands for a few hours before finally taking it off as doing so would help the henna shade darken and stay longer.

I loved the smell of henna. It’s been 9 years since I actually got henna done on my hands – I just have too much to do most of the time and cannot exactly afford not using my hands for hours on end until the henna dries off. But mostly, I cannot get henna done on my hands here with the same kind of convenience that I could in Karachi. I have less reason to get it done when I am not even celebrating Eid. Yet it saddens me that it has been 9 long years since I got it done. And Eid will simply never feel real without the presence of henna on my hands. I think the most memorable Eid day I had here was the one I spent smoking cigars and weed with my boyfriend. We weren’t doing it in honour of Eid or anything, we did it just because it was fun, it was not to celebrate anything, yet that is the Eid day I remember with fondness. I think that was when I realized how I little I really care for Eid.

Eid in Canada – at the times that I have attempted to “celebrate” it at all – has been one big pretense for me. Always sitting and eating among family friends who are simply too tedious and boring. And because I am always expected to wake up early in the morning, the whole thing starts to feel like a chore. And while I sit and eat among these boring and tedious people, I just end up missing everything about Eid in Pakistan. Because it just could not be the same here at all, so I decided I am no longer going to bother with it at all. It is too painful for me now, so I decided to altogether destroy whatever meaning Eid had for me once. But I do feel happy today, and I am looking forward to my morning walk with my boyfriend.

I realize that it is okay for occasions that once meant something to you, to stop meaning something to you overtime. I don’t celebrate my birthday with the same kind of zest and enthusiasm I once used to. And it is okay for certain traditions to lose their meaning for you, time and moving do a different country tends to do that. And that is okay because you will manage to somehow find meaning in other things and occasions (I found it in Christmas and Canada Day, to my surprise) and those things will make your life beautiful.

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