The Morning of Eid

Socio-Cultural
2016

It’s Wednesday morning and 5 AM is my wake up call. Both my parents are already bustling about, doing last minute ironing for their outfits of the day, and breakfast for us to eat on the way to the Sports Centre in Riverwood where our prayers are being held at. It’s the morning of Eid Al­Fitr; the first day after the end of Ramadhan, and the only day in which Allah (God), prohibits us from fasting.

The first thing I see is a flood of messages from last night when the sighting of the full moon was announced. This is an indication that the holy month of Ramadhan has ended. It’s the usual stuff, like “Eid Mubarak!” and “Please forgive for all my wrong­doings”, even from acquaintances I haven’t seen since Orientation week. I reply to every one of these messages with a “Thank you! Say hi to your family for me". It’s the norm to ask for forgiveness from everyone as this day is a chance for everyone to reconcile and forget the past.

With my KMart outfit and my coffee and toast in my hands, my family and leave for prayers to worship with our Indonesian Muslim community. The radio, unlike every other day, was muted, and we all chanted the Takbeer – a mantra that serves as a reminder of who God is and His great power:
“Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest. There is no deity worthy of worship but Allah. Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest, to Him belongs all praise!”
As we near the venue, the chant flows out of the building, getting louder with each step. This chaotic buzz and exciting aura overtake the sports centre as families greet one another, and parents slip money into their children’s hands. In our rows as people were laying their pray mats, clinking buckets were being passed down for people to put their donation in for charity. This act is also known as Zakat: a very significant act that must be done in Eid.

As my mum and I circled the basketball courts, we bumped into a lot of familiar faces, all with the same greetings and expressions. We kept assuring each other that we would catch up once the prayer was done, but that usually never works out. The crowd is overwhelming and we would always bump into colleagues and old friends that we hadn't seen in years. When the prayers begin though, the hype settles and the entire room is engulfed in silence, concentrating on the prayers and Quran recitations from the Imam. Everyone is suddenly united as we all embrace our love and dedication to God.

Once the prayers are done, a lecture, also known as a khutbah, is held in both Indonesian and English. The lecture also serves as a reminder to us about how and why we should strengthen our iman (dedication to God) in the society we live in today. The older generation are brought to tears as they're moved by the true hardships of those living in neglected countries around the world, and the importance of creating stronger bonds with one another.

The rest of the day suddenly becomes a blur. I get dragged around by my parents to greet the elders first, who do not hand me any money this year. Then as usual, I meet with friends for Sate Padang (Cow Tongue Satay) and beg our aunties and uncles for lolly bags. After this is when the feasting began. From house to house we would go, eating diverse plates of food made by families holding an open house; obviously compensating for our fasting throughout Ramadhan. This year, I ended the day with a pack 24 nuggets from Maccas, which is far from Eid­like food, but I definitely don't regret it.

While Eid is an amazing day to look forward to during Ramadhan, it’s also significant to realise why we’re taking part in the holy month as Muslims. It’s not only about starving yourself, but also what it does to our bodies and minds: if we’re denied the most basic human instinct, who are we to turn to?