Sharing Eid with Others by Imene Maallem (Algeria)

Today is the day we celebrate Eid al-Fitr, the end of Ramadan. I always wake up early on the day of Eid (around 7am). I find my mothers and sisters, who greet me with a big smile and say “Happy Eid, Imene!” Everyone is happy. My father and brother went early to the mosque to perform the Eid prayer. My younger sister is ready to share the cakes that our mother has prepared with our neighbors. I am sure she will be back with her hands full of money they gave to her as a gift. I can hear the joyous voices of children exchanging congratulations and boasting in their new Eid clothes. It reminds me of when I was a child myself.

During Ramadan, Muslims observe a strict fast and participate in pious activities such as charitable giving and peace making, in order to be closer go God. It is a time of intense spiritual renewal for those who observe it. At the end of Ramadan, Muslims throughout the world observe a joyous day celebration called Eid al-Fitr  (the festival of fast-breaking). It is a time where people forgive each other, and every Muslim forgets about the bad things that her sisters or brothers did to her. It is one of the most important Muslim holidays.

Someone knocks on the door. It is my brother and father coming back from the mosque. All family members hug and shake each other’s hands. My father reaches into the pockets of his trousers and gives each one of us an amount of money. “Thank you, father,” I say, “I am going to buy a new book with the money I am going to gain today. Yay!”

Someone else is knocking at the door. It is the neighbors, sending their children to share their cakes of different colors and tastes with us. I am going to be very full today! All the relatives cell phones are ringing. It is friends and relatives sending text messages to share their happiness with us because they are celebrating too. The cell phones will not stop ringing until the evening. After the noon prayer, the family is ready to go and visit relatives and extended family members, starting with my aunts.

I am very happy wearing my new clothes for the Eid. There is an atmosphere of happiness and laughter flooding the place. My parents sit with my uncles and aunts, and we, the kids sit with each other sharing funny stories and jokes or going to buy toys and candies. I became very talkative there. I didn’t used to be like that, and everyone was very surprised. I used to share the happiness of Eid with my relatives without speaking much, just being shy and quiet. Not today. I shared my feelings of happiness with everybody.

At around 7, we return home. This Eid was special for me, because I spent the first part of Ramadan in the US where I found a lot of support but was away from my family. Since I got home from the TechGirls program, my family has noticed some changes in my personality. For example, I am much more active during this Ramadan than any before. I would ask everyone in the house with a lot of enthusiasm, “Who wants help?” I used to be the last family member to help in the house during Ramadan, but not anymore. This Ramadan, my energy level became higher. Also, I used to be impatient—I would get angry with my sisters when they disturbed me, even in small ways. I have become more patient. I also became more self-reliant. I used to always call for help every time I had any trouble, even for small things. But now I only call for help when I have serious problems. I really feel that I have changed in a positive way, thanks to God who led me to participate in this program, which helped me change some of my thoughts and habits for the better.

I love the Eid al-Fitr because it is a great opportunity to strengthen the bonds of love and brotherhood between Muslims. It is also a good way for us to renew our energy after the holy month of Ramadan. Today, I am full of renewed enthusiasm and love and I am ready to share it with everyone. It is time that everyone hears my voice.

Happy Eid to all my friends, all over the world!!