As a young child, I remember being woken up early in the morning. The house filled with the smells of my mom's cooking, vermicelli, beef curry, fried rice, chowmein, chicken stew, pepper pot, dhal polourie, fruit cake, sponge cake amidst all the finger foods she made the NIGHT before. I don't know how she ever did all that work with three young kids. My dad was the decorator and he dressed up our house with streamers and balloons just to make the day special for us.
For days before the big event, mom spent at her sewing machine. Measuring us, and cutting and sewing and making sure her girls were dressed in their best. (See picture below)
The afternoon before would have kids looking out the windows at sundown, looking and praying for that new crescent that heralded the end of Ramadan and made the next day Eid. How happy we were when we saw it and how disappointed we were when it wasn't seen. That meant one more day of fasting and Eid was yet another day away.
The songs that came from our radiogram filled our ears and heads with memories that takes us right back to that time when we hear them now. Beautiful songs by India's son, Mohamed Rafi were played from LP's and 45's.
Come Eid morning, we were dressed and made our way to masjid - La Grange Masjid on the West Bank of Demerara in sunny Guyana. Come to think of it, I don't ever recall Eid being anything other than a sunny day in Guyana. That masjid is loaded with memories for all four generations of the Khan clan. My uncle was the Imam there and now my cousin (who is my age) is the Imam. La Grange masjid has always been home to us and all the aunties who are the staple and backbone of the masjid have known me since I was a baby bump for my mom. After the Eid prayers and Khutbah, us kids were hugged and kissed and given money. There were always the kids who tried to get as much money from as many people as possible especially those incorrigible boys from the previous post.
No one seem to mind and in fact the men even forgot the antics of the boys during the night prayers....it was Eid and a day for the kids.
The first house we visited was my uncle's house - the Imam, then we walked over to my grandparents' house and then over to my aunt's house where we spent the majority of the day. Come afternoon, we took a car ride over to my mom's parent's house where yet another feast awaited.
Those long gone Eid days always bring back memories of us kids running around in Eid finery, with the excitement of seeing and meeting dozens of cousins from all over the country. Playing until dark and until one by one each family made its way back to their home. Lucky were the ones who got to stay extra days with the grandparents.
As we got older, we were able to help my mom with the preparations, mostly me cleaning and decorating and my sister Farah cooking (pssst.... it worked better that way as I have a hard time finding my way around the kitchen and knowing what each ingredient is used for). My mom still sewed our clothes and she made sure we looked the best she could as now we were kinda fashion conscious.
Our boy cousins with their friends started off the famous "walking" as it is known in Guyana, going from house to house, sampling wares put out by each happy, smiling host. By late afternoon they made their way from La Grange to Pouderoyen where we lived, a distance of approx. three to four miles. Here we'd put out our delicacies for their enjoyment. They ate, chatted and had a over all good time. The night ended up as movie night and more than likely with some of our cousins spending the night.
Eid was perhaps the best day in our young lives!!
This post is dedicated to all my cousins especially the La Grange troupe, Moneer, Shahab, Omran, KK, Talib, Gamal, who now have their own families to celebrate with and Mehboob and Junior who have since departed this world. I miss those days.