Eid is a beautiful occasion to spend time with friends and family, whilst devouring delicious foods and a chance to reflect on the month that was, and the year ahead. But before all this occurs there’s the small matter of Eid prayer that takes place in the early morning. Upon completion, the mosque becomes handshaking central. It’s a jam-packed sandwich of people, well wishing and greetings. Whilst, of course, an undoubtedly joyous atmosphere, it’s not without its minor struggles. Here are my top ten…
1- The left/right dilemma
If the handshake doesn’t come with a great big hug are you even doing it right?! But whether you should hug to the left or right first can lead many to awkwardly hit into the other person. A symbol of friendliness can instantly turn to an uncalled for cringe. Top tip: Look for micro-expressions in their face and try to react with lightening speed to hug the ‘correct’ side first.
2- Have we already met?
As the people flow around you, and you find yourself greeting every Tom, Dick and Harry (or shall I say Mohamed, Ahmed and Abdullah) it’s not long before you see someone and start doubting whether you’ve already met them. ‘I definitely have’ you think to yourself…but you haven’t eaten breakfast in a whole month, so both reach in for the hug, keep it simple with just an ‘Eid Mubarak bro’ and move on swiftly…
3- The Continuous Talker
You’ll be wandering round and boom you see your old Islamic teacher. But he’s talking to someone. He’ll surely be done in a few seconds right? Right??? He’s already made eye-contact with you so it’s too late to leave… You’ve been stood there for a full 5 minutes twidling your thumbs and looking awkward but you’ve got to stick it out now!
4- The Missed Opportunity
It’s been too long and some are starting to leave the vicinity. You can’t be standing around here forever, so decide to meet others and pop by later. You guessed it, they’ll have left by then.
5- The Repetitive Mutterings
If you had a dollar for every ‘Eid Mubarak’ you’ve said, you could literally afford to paint the walls gold. If it’s not that, it’s the bog-standard:
You: “Salaam, Eid Mubarak, how’s it going?”
Them: “Eid Mubarak to you too! Alhamdullilah all good, looking forward to breakfast after this”,
You: “Yeah, likewise, going to be strange getting back to my morning coffee *fake chuckle*”
Them: “Haha, yeah…*awkward silence*…alright well take care!
Oh the excitement and variety these conversations have(!)
6- The Denied Conversation
They’re a family friend. You actually KNOW their name and haven’t seen them since you had a great chat at your cousin Salman’s wedding. You expect a few seconds of chatter at least. When you greet them and they don’t appear to even remember your name, it’s a quick wish and they’ve moved on to person 307. Heartbreaking.
7- Your Father’s Friends
Like I know you. Kinda. You may know me (depending on what mood you’re in). You may only recognise me with my dad present, so should I bother coming towards you?
8- The Uncle Who Says ‘do you know who I am’
You obviously don’t. But you obviously should. They’re obviously your dad’s cousin’s uncle’s husband’s grandson or some other equally arbitrary relation. They’re guaranteed to follow up that question with a long story about how they grew up playing cricket with your dad ‘back home’. Just laugh it along, answer quietly and move on.
9- The Missing Mate
They’re a mate. Perhaps a close mate. They’re definitely in the mosque. You saw them Snapchat their arrival to the mosque! You categorically have to meet them, I mean why else have you opted for these brand new Ray Bans. There is absolutely no point calling, texting or whatsapping. There’s too much bustle for them to be checking their phone.
10- The Language Dilemma
Finally the dreaded language dilemma. What language should I speak in?! Stick to English – what if the uncles make fun of me for not speaking our mother tongue? Bring out the ol’ mother tongue and get ridiculed for my poor grammar skills? Attempt Arabic? Something else?!
I’m sure you can relate to at least one of these struggles! Jokes aside though, Eid Mubarak to you and your family!
by Sameer Merali