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Today, I woke up to the same shrill alarm clock I wake up to everyday. But something was different. I felt the overwhelming feeling sweep all over me as I slowly realized today, it was Eid. This was the first time ever that my dad hadn’t walked into my room and woke me up so that we could go offer Eid prayers together early in the morning. This was the first time my over excited little brother was not all dressed up and running around the house hugging everyone that walked out of their rooms in hopes of gathering enough Eidi to buy a weeks supply worth of candy.
Most of all, the feeling really hit me – there was no one in my kitchen making my favorite ‘Sawaiyaan’, with a beautiful smile on her face, to wish me Eid Mubarak. The entire place was empty and I lay still thinking of all the things that I used to get annoyed about doing at home. Today, when I didn’t have to do them anymore, it was the emptiest feeling ever. What would I give to be in Pakistan on Eid.
While I was there, I always took the event for granted thinking it was an over-rated time of the year that our parents just felt the need to impose on us as part of their ‘parental responsibilities’. But today, ironically, I felt closest to them when I was furthest from them.
Eid is so much more than just the rituals. Those are actually the links to our cultural bondage, to our roots. They form some of the most integral part of our memories. They shape similar, yet unique family traditions that become so embedded in our life that we don’t even realize them until they no longer exist.
I thought being on my own, studying abroad was probably the best experience I was ever going to have. Today I realized, there are certain experiences we all have, again and again that we take for granted but that really form the feeling of belonging and serve a sense of purpose. The enthusiasm and excitement and preparation that dwells upon every single household during this time, regardless of them being young or old, male or female or rich or even as poverty stricken as may be, the spirit of Eid lives strong in every persons heart, in only 1 country in the world. As pointless and annoying as they may seem at the time, these are the things that truly make Pakistan one of a kind and make me proud to be a Pakistani!