When I thought about what to write as my first post on The Arab Expats, I decided it should be first and foremost an intimate one. The Arab Expats is brought to life by Arabs who live away from home, and what they miss the most about home is most probably the intimacy and warmth … But how do we define intimacy? We do not, it can only be felt.
In a month or so, Ramadan will be visiting us, and then Eid will follow. I can safely say I forgot how it feels like to have an intimate Ramadan and an intimate Eid; the spiritual and the emotional connections I used to have before are now gone. I do not want to depress anyone, I am just turning thoughts in my head into words on a blog. I remember the first time I wanted to try and fast a whole day of Ramadan. I was in first or second grade, and I just felt like a big girl. Of course I did feel hungry and tired, and I remember how I kept asking my mom about the time. She said I could eat if I needed to, but I insisted to wait until it was time to eat. By the time Adhan was sent out, I was the happiest girl on Earth. I did it! The funny part is, my mom had earlier allowed me to help her bake special Eid pastry since Eid was coming. My piece was shaped as a little bunny. I held it throughout the whole day (What? I was proud of myself). As soon as we started to eat though, I forgot all about it and I did not get to eat it.
Eid was -and still is actually- the most special holiday for me. We would go to bed early and wake up to find gifts next to our beds. We would then have breakfast while listening to Eid prayers. Later, we would get all dressed up, exchange greetings, and get ready to go on the usual journey to visit relatives. Even though we would see new faces, we still got lots of hugging and kissing. Arabs are sentimental people, I guess. For the rest of the day, we would go out for lunch and then spend the night with the family. Also, I am sure everyone has some sort of experience with Eid fireworks. I remember once accidentally aiming one at the neighbor’s house instead of up towards the sky. We ended up burning one of their trees down. There was no major damage though!
Ramadan and Eid are joyous occasions that hold not only religious significance, but they bring people closer together as well. They are times of giving and sharing. Now that I am older and away from home, all I have left is memories. I do not think Ramadan or Eid back home are still celebrated the same way they used to be celebrated. I know I cannot go back in time either. Do not get me wrong, I still love Ramadan and Eid, but they are not the same as before. The magic is gone, but maybe it is part of growing up and realizing how ‘realistic’ things get. However, I hope that someday I will get the chance to be home and experience the real feel of Ramadan and Eid and the simple pleasures that one gets to experience nowhere else other than home.