I want to tell you about my Expat Eid. How my family shares the joy even though we are miles away…
What is an Expat Eid? That is the term I use to describe how expatriate Muslims mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan or Hajj while living abroad. No doubt, when you have been living in a culture than your own for sometime, you slowly start to become a fusion of cultures.
I am an expat since birth. I have been living in Saudi Arabia almost all my life while my Indian parents have lived here all their adult lives. There was a time when my family lived in the same city as me… but then, we all had our own lives to make, so one by one we all moved away. We meet once or twice a year and that is usually during one of the Eids when we go on a vacation.
My expat heart knows: while I try to give my children the perfect Eid full of tradition and Indian culture, my own Eid remains incomplete. With loved ones back home and me here in foreign lands, marking the end of Ramadan is just not like it is with family. Praying with strangers, celebrating the joy afterwards all alone… I miss the warmth of blood ties. There isn’t Eidi (money) to collect from too many families or Sheer Khorma (traditional Eid dessert) at every home you visit. We have dates. Dates with chocolate, dates with dry fruits, dates with chocolate and dry fruits, dates in desserts and dates as is. I love dates! I love chocolate dates a bit too much. And the chocolate dipped hazelnut rolled ones… even more!
Last year, we didn’t go to the homeland (India) for the vacation. It was the first time in 10 years that I hadn’t gone. My family wasn’t visiting us either. We chose to spend Eid in Saudi Arabia. They chose to spend it back home. We decided to take the children to Riyadh to visit their cousins instead. For my kids, it was fun; they had their uncle and cousins. My husband had his brother. It was me, feeling a bit homesick.
Riyadh was fun. We traveled, enjoyed the new places and came home ten days later. My father had, as he usually does, gone to India to be with the family. He returned when we returned and with him he brought a box of chocolate. “It is your Eid gift from your siblings,” he said.
Inside, there was a single line of assorted dates remaining in the box of empty rows.
My husband laughed. “They ate your chocolates,” he said. Only I knew… This was no practical joke. It was love. No, they didn’t eat my chocolates. They sent me my share.
We are five siblings. We grew up sharing everything. My father had taken this box of dates for them over Eid. They all took their shares and sent me back my share of it.
They saw it as 7 rows of chocolates for 7 members of the family.
My 7 year-old-son found it amusing, too. He would have eaten them all, he said.
You are too young to understand, my dear. This is how expats celebrate Eid.
This post is part of the Eid for Kids blog hop from Multicultural Kid Blogs. Read all of the articles below for ideas on celebrating Eid with kids:
Find even more ideas on our Eid for Kids board on Pinterest:by
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