Is Eid-ul-Azha the same blood, guts and togetherness for young people everywhere?
Blood. Lots of it. And food. Lots of it. That's the brief cycle of life for our Eid-ul-Azha. Animals die delicious so we can live. Ask any young person and that's the gist of Eid in Bangladesh. Blood, food and the occasional relatives; joy and happiness. But mainly food.
So what do the young people in other parts of the world do on Eid-ul-Azha? Is their town painted red? Or do they paint it red in some other way? Do they even wear pants? These are questions that need to be answered.
I got hold of the other kind of Londoner, a Sylheti, called Khokon. He grew up in England, occasionally coming back home for short visits. He has viewed Eid on both sides. “In Sylhet, it's amazing; everybody's saying hi to everyone. People are walking around with big machete type knives. And it's all cool. There's blood everywhere. And like I said everyone is hugging each other. In London, no blood, No machete. Not if you want not to get arrested. It's a little more sober. But the Bangladeshi communities get together and there's music, dancing, cook-offs even. But it's nowhere close to the huge gatherings back home.”
Nisma Elias, former RS writer says, "I have spent it in England and the US. Nothing much to say because I usually have class then and I don't count it as much as a big deal as the first Eid (prolly because its more about eating than anything else). But I do try to go out that day with friends or family to get in the Eid spirit, and educate those who might not know anything about it what it is."
For yet another former RS star, Faria Sanjana studying in UK, "I was lucky enough to have Eid fall during Thanksgiving Break so I could go to my sister's and aunt's and be fed typical Bangali polau korma till I died from the grease." The second year, her family in the US were all in Bangladesh or performing Hajj. Hence, I had no clue on what day Eid was.
Jonny Rahman from Sydney says he spends the time with his friends. A big dinner somewhere nice that they usually don't frequent is the norm. Studying to become a chartered accountant all on his own doesn't leave much cash in the pocket to splurge.
“During Eid, it's almost like every other day. There're few people around the suburb where I live. Fewer Muslims still. There's an Indian Muslim family down the road who invite me to dinner. Good food.”
Speaking of India, Shantanu, a 17 year old says for him Eid is kind of interesting. He says, “On one side you have people revering cows so much they would rather give up their own bed for it. Well, almost. Just across the other side you will have a family happily chopping up revered deity. I like Eid because a lot of my friends are Muslim and they take me into their culture. I'm not a vegetarian so the food is amazing.”
Rahul, an agency guy in Malaysia, loves it there. He has been living there since his family moved when he was 14. Seven years on and he still feels like it was just like at home. It's a Muslim majority country. “There's Muslims from every imaginable culture. Algeria, Morocco, Sudan and quite a few from Bangladesh. There's even an Iraqi family living above my floor. They've been here longer than they've been in Iraq. But their cultural roots remain. And yes, the food. Being friends with all these different families, it's amazing how well they treat you.”
Moving on a little farther. Okay a lot farther. All the way to Canada. Ishraqur Raza is studying industrial design. He has been there since he was 16. Different? “Well, for starters, there's no blood on the street. But then it's overall pretty quiet here in Toronto,” he added. “I am a car guy. Last time around there was a car show so I took my '71 Lincoln Continental to attend. We hang around with friends and family but it's like every other day almost. The same traffic, which incidentally is low. Kind of like Dhaka during Eid. Except here, it's all the time.”
How about in New York? The land of the free and the also the land of the suspected. Muslims can't have it easy there. Not after 9/11. This time around, it's just after the 10 year anniversary. But Eid celebrations are usually met with calm. “No Quran burnings,” says Shahin Ahmed, 14 and fan of vampires of Underworld, not the sparkly silly Twilight. “Prayers are a little tight. It's a small mosque near where I live and Dad says unlike in Dhaka, we can't spill over on the streets. I've been in Dhaka, but never during Eid. Must be quite a sight with all that blood and cutting going on everywhere.” Yeah, that was a little scary. The first person who is excited about the prospect of our red streets on Eid. For Sushmita S. Preetha, she didn't usually know it was Eid till her parents called and started crying on the phone
So there you have it. Eid. Different people, different ways to celebrate it. One thing is common. It brings people together. For food.