Muhammad Najem

The most important things that I lost about the Eid rituals were my family

The most important things that I lost about the Eid rituals were my family, my home, and the sheer happiness of Eid. Before we left Syria, I was very happy to celebrate Eid with my family. We spent all hours together struggling through Ramadan together, supporting each other in our fasts, prayers, and the excitement of each Iftar. Now the atmosphere of Eid is completely different. My life has changed entirely; it’s not fun anymore

 

The most important thing that we have lost after the displacement is the anticipation, excitement, and atmosphere of Eid. We used to have special gatherings and ceremonies before Eid, and it was a moment when we used to spend quality time with our friends and family. After displacement these things became difficult, and there are some people who chose not to celebrate at all.

 

Eid is one of the most important rituals in the Muslim community. During this time, people come together, visit each other, and celebrate while doing many traditions according to their hometowns. The days preceding Eid are usually filled with excitement and happiness. With the war going on in Syria, many traditions have changed and people have been displaced from their homes to different areas of Syria, such as Idlib and Aleppo, and Damascus–or to other countries.

 

We lost food, family, and friends. Eid was not like the one before the war, it is not as familiar anymore. First of all, we lost our house and everything inside of it. Then we moved to another place where there were no people that we know and it’s hard to make new friends here, especially with the language barrier. In addition to that, I remember wondering if my mother would be able to make all the traditional dishes we eat during Ramadan, like sweets and desserts; the list is long, but then again when most of our relatives became displaced these dishes became a symbol for us.

 

Eid is one of the most important celebrations in Islam. It is a time to spend with family and friends and to give gifts to loved ones and those in need. In Syria, for many years, Eid was spent with family, friends, and neighbors. However, due to the current crisis, we are no longer able to celebrate this holiday with them. I think we can all agree that one of the biggest losses, when forced to leave your home, is being separated from loved ones. The atmosphere that surrounds us during Eid has become very different since our displacement.

 

In all of the talk about human rights, I forgot that Eid went beyond just the present. It marked an end to the month of fasting. Even now, it is a day of happiness and celebration—something that we all look forward to. After the displacement, people lost their rights in so many areas: living in camps, daily death and killing around them; and a severe lack of resources that led to the death of many children and elderly people because they could not live in cold winters.

 

In Syria, Eid was an occasion for family and friends to gather to spend their time together, especially at sundown. When you are unable to return home and spend your time with your loved ones, it becomes very difficult to live this joyous moment like before. The celebration atmosphere becomes lost as displaced people lost their homes, land, and belongings. Although people have found safe places where they live now away from the war, they miss their own homes. They feel that they are living in someone else’s home which is not comfortable despite the generosity shown. The comforts of home, photos, and mementos all of which brought a sense of belonging and history to each family are gone.

 

I remember the feeling of Eid in our neighborhood when all the families would get together, especially the young children and women. The children would wear fancy new clothes on Eid day and put henna on their hands and feet. And there would also be cooking in all the homes…the aromas of the different foods were amazing and added to our appetites and excitement to finally celebrate the end of fasting.

 

I wish everything could be normal again and we were back in our home, surrounded by loved ones, enjoying every minute of Eid. I wish this for every Syrian family whose lives have been forever changed by war and displacement.

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