Thursday, August 08, 2013

Eid in Kabul

 Pigeons fly outside a mosque in Kabul, Afghanistan, 
as Muslims head for Eid-al-Fitr prayers.
(Credit: Ahmad Nazar, AP)

Comment: For most Muslims north of South Africa Ramadan ended last night with the sighting of the new moon.  Here in the delusional Eid will be tomorrow.

My childhood memories of Eid in Kimberley still evoke an inward smile.  I remember kids - including myself - would walk from house to house wishing the elders "Eid Mubarak".  The elders would offer sweets, cookies and small change in return and we would move on to the next house.

The walking would continue until it was late afternoon and our pockets were full of nickel/copper and silver coins.

It never amounted to much money though.  Maybe a couple of Rand (less than a dollar or so).  But in those days of innocence it was a safe passage and a delightful time of wonder.

My childhood friend Stephen - who is Christian - accompanied me as I made my rounds on a couple or so Eids.  And in the spirit of giving no-one questioned his presence and he returned with a pocket full of change and lipstick from the aunties who could not resist to kiss both our cheeks.

At Christmas time I would accompany Stephen and a few other Christian friends and go from house to house wishing the Christain elders Merry Christmas.

And just like on Eid, no-one even raised an eye as I was welcomed along with all the other children.

Things have changed.

Children do not go from house to house because it is no longer safe to do so.  The only kids who stop by number 11 are those who live very close and are known to us.

But in the spirit of Eid each one will get some money - not coins anymore but paper money worth about $5.00 (R50.00) and the moms will comment on their new clothes and shiny shoes.

At the end of the day a few of those kids may be flying on a sugar high while rubbing all the red lipstick the aunties smudged onto their innocent faces.

It is a wonderful time despite the changes and the growing animosity between the religions.  I like to think that here in South Africa we are still more tolerant of differences and that our diversity is a real strength and not a pretend approximation at election times.

I like being home in my hometown and can't wait to celebrate Eid tomorrow.

To my sisters and brothers north of us I say Eid Mubarak and well over the fast.

Onward! to peace.


Kimberly said...

Absolutely love this beautiful photo and the sweet memory.

Thank you for sharing and Eid Mubarak to you and yours.


Ridwan said...

Thank you kindly Kimmie.

It is a beautiful picture. Lots of energy and purpose.

DD mentioned to me today that we rarely think of beautiful when we think of Afghanistan - the now is all about war and the devastation that continues.

But this Eid memory is beautiful.

Thank you for your kind wishes and Eid Mubarak to you too.