By Khaula Mazhar

How I celebrate Eid has really evolved over time, and from being at one end of the world to the other end creates a “world” of difference!

My childhood Eids in Canada were spent on the special trips to Toronto for Eid prayers then visiting my parents’ acquaintances. The excitement of shiny traditional clothes that I watched my mother sew herself was probably the highlight. I still remember going to pick out buttons for my tea pink kurta with fine silver threads, the buttons had little faux diamonds and I was completely bedazzled! Then there was all the delicious food! I think childhood Eids may have started my lifelong passion for shiny things and food!

I spent one year in Pakistan as a child and the Eid there was what I can only describe as completely “free range”! I got dressed in my new clothes and then joined the rest of the neighborhood kids as they went to all the neighbors’ houses and we were served delicious sweets and… cash! Yes, it was only what would amount to a few cents, but back in the day it was more than enough to get us endless candy at the local corner store! I was rolling with the right crowd for sure!

As an adult, more specifically as a daughter-in-law, Eid was much more stressful as the demands of being perfectly dressed after having prepared a million different food items placed perfectly in the best dishes we had and ready to go by 9 in the morning had me longing for the free-range Eid I had so enjoyed as a child. I’m sure many a daughter-in-law is shaking her head right now in sympathy. It is what it is! With time though I have found Eid to be more relaxed thankfully!

This year I had the experience of a completely different Eid (not counting COVID lockdowns-does being stuck in limbo count really?) that brought back all my beloved childhood memories. I was invited by the Muslim Association of Canada to their annual Eid Festival to enjoy the activities of the day and do a live paint for their Art Show. The festival took place on May 2nd at the Enercare Centre in Toronto (just one of the several Canada-wide Eid events by MAC). I can not get over just how organized the festival was, there were so many people yet everything ran without a hitch. And there was something for everyone! After offering prayers together you could enjoy food from several different food trucks (yup right inside the center!) there were games, rides, bouncy castles, an art show, a petting zoo, henna stations, face painting stations, photo booths and more. Did I mention pony rides as well? But I think my favorite thing of all was the diversity.

Never have I seen so many people from so many backgrounds celebrating the same thing together under one roof. It gave me a huge sense of pride, hope and belonging. It made me so happy that my children saw that and felt that sense of pride as well. It was a really goose bump moment! Having grown up in Canada there were times when that sense of belonging was very sadly missing, the Muslim Association of Canada has done an amazing job of organizing events for the community to foster that sense of belonging that is so important to one’s wellbeing.

I am also truly grateful to have had the honor of being invited to share art with the community! Three other artists and myself were invited to paint live at the festival and have the pieces auctioned off for charity. It is always a fun way to connect with the community and get them to enjoy some art by sharing the actual process plus the benefit of doing a tiny part for the fundraising. If you have not been to the MAC Eid festival I highly recommend you put it on your calendar for next Eid! Thank you to the entire team of the Muslim Association of Canada for providing the community with such a sense of belonging, a fun festival and memorable moments to enjoy!

About the Author

Khaula Mazhar, artist at Khaula’s Art  is the Editor of MuslimMoms.Ca newsletter. She has written for Dawn Pakistan and now bestows her wisdom upon the world at her blog. Last time she counted she had five kids, however the vast amount of laundry has given her doubts. This is a cause of constant distraction as she tries to finish writing the next NYT best-seller.