I remember when I was young and Eid was a great, fun event. It was a time to gather with the family and play with all our cousins. I loved the idea of wearing new clothes and getting gifts from adults, which always consisted of an envelope full of money. I wish I had received wrapped gifts like those my neighbors got during their holidays. I remember their excitement while waiting and guessing on the content inside. I wished I had that long awaited suspense during my Eid, but in my case, I never knew what to do with the money I received.
As I grew older, Eid morphed into going to prayers followed by an outing to a restaurant or meeting with family friends. I had to wait until I had children of my
own to feel Eid through their eyes again. I made a big deal out of it, a very big deal! I finally opted for the wrapped gifts. I also made decorations, which I hung all over the house in lieu of those sumptuous meals that used to embalm our entire house for days. Those days were fun and brought me some happiness.
Now my children are grown up and to avoid going through Eid withdrawal, I have decided to make Eid an adult affair. If you are like me and miss the festivities of Eid from your childhood, I’d like to share some tips on how to make Eid the long awaited and festive event that it is supposed to be. First, decide on the list of people you would like to have at your party. Eid is a good time to rekindle with old friends that you do not see on regular basis, friends that you do hang around with, who like you, have grown up children. It is also nice to invite neighbors, new converts, or friendly faces at the Masjid that you’d like to get to know better.
Since Eid will be during summer for a few more years, try having an outdoor event. If it’s too hot in your area, make it an evening event. In fact instead of having
your celebration on Eid, you could hold a weekend iftar party! Now that you have a guest list and a location, it’s time to select your menu. If you are a good cook then this is the time to show off your culinary skills. You can pick dishes that were passed on through your family to try to recreate the nostalgic times of when you were young. If cooking is not your thing, catering from a local halal restaurant is another option. Not up for heavy food? Just do a fun party style gathering with hors d’oeuvres. There are hundreds of easy recipes using common ingredients that you can find online. Last but not least are party decorations. When I think of Eid, I think lanterns, lots of them filling the skyline. Paper lanterns are easy to find in any party store and they are affordable. Pick either a multi-color
theme, or you can stick to one strong color for a wow effect. Eid specific lanterns from Eid Creations really add a special layer of festivity.
Now, on to the table. Use a simple, solid color tablecloth from whatever you have at home or you can find affordable options at any clearance center. While it used to be true that china was the way to go for a formal event, nowadays you can use paper plates and not be shunned from society. If you want to make them stand out, use chargers that you can find at party supply and discount stores. You can also find beautiful paper napkin designs which can impress more than cloth. For cups and glasses, you can choose festive paper cup designs or you can get plastic clear cups or even glass ones that you can find at low prices from dollar stores and party centers. Colored glass such as the cobalt blue, red, or gold adds a nice effect, especially if you are decorating with those same colors.
Last, but not least, are the centerpieces. If you are having your party outside, choose fresh cut flowers from your garden or a nearby garden center. Remember that food will be set on the table as well, so no need to go crazy with your centerpieces; when putting flowers, try to keep them low so as to not interfere with conversation. Don’t forget gift giving! The holiday isn’t complete without a special gift from the heart. For family parties it’s common to exchange gifts. Choose
festive wrapping paper that will allow the stack of gifts to act as a decoration piece until after dinner when everyone can relax with coffee or chai and share the love. For community or neighborhood parties, use decorative party favor bags, which elevate the festivities and will make your Eid gathering a special event for
everyone who comes.
Remember that even if everything doesn’tgo according to YOUR plan, a successful party is one where people are having fun and are bonding. At the end of the day, this is what Eid is all about. A time to share happy moments with people we love!