They say that there is nothing more wholesome than the memories we create during childhood, and in Egypt, there are no memories that are quite like the ones we create on Eid.
There would simply be no Eid holiday if it weren’t for the childhood rituals that were carried over the years until adulthood, such as receiving ‘Elediya’ (Eid gifts), buying our Eid outfit, or starting the day by hearing our friends or relatives ringing our doorbell early in the morning.
While family plays a huge part, what always differentiates Egypt’s Eid holiday from other holidays is that you always feel like you are part of larger families, whether it is going to your friends’ house, celebrating with your neighbors or even seeing everyone in the street publicly sharing their joyous moments and celebrations.
Before social media, Eid was a time for true and real reconnection with everyone I knew and cherished. It wasn’t just about going to fancy resorts in Sahel (North Coast) or planning a long summer trip, but about expressing love, care and joy. Seeing the happiness on my grandmother’s face as she greets us in her home and listening to the different stories of relatives and friends are two core memories that I deeply miss from my own childhood.
Egyptian Streets spoke with Egyptians from around the world and inside Egypt to look back on the best memories they had as children in Egypt during Eid.
Omar El-Hayes, currently living in Ireland.
“Since I was born in Ireland and grew up there for the majority of my life, I really never got to experience Eid Al-Adha with my family in Egypt till I was around 7 years old, and it’s one of my fondest memories. It’s special as it was the first time in my entire childhood at the time that I felt so close with my family in Egypt and it created the long-lasting relationships that I have with them till this very day. I recall running around with my cousins to all our uncles and aunts and asking for eidiyah, going to the room and playing UNO, eating malfoof and making my cousins laugh. Also, the atmosphere in Egypt at the time was wonderful, and the closeness I felt with my cousins made Egypt really feel like home to me.”
Mahmoud Osman, currently living in the United Kingdom.
“The thing I miss the most is my family, because what makes Eid exciting and full of happy memories is due to the family atmosphere, and not just with my family, but also other families in the streets that we see – when we see other families celebrating and are happy, we also feel included. I also miss the culture, like the little things and rituals we do to celebrate it, especially the sweets and el ‘eideya’ and this is difficult to find abroad. But what I particularly like is that my friends here celebrate with me even though they’re not Muslim, but they try to make me feel as though I am home. Yet nothing is really like home.”
Sara Ahmed, currently living in the United Kingdom.
“I miss people being excited about it. I miss the street decorations, and everyone saying “Kol sana wenta/wenti tayeb/tayeba” to each other. Both my grandmothers used to bake their own ka7k and they would let the grandchildren decorate them, so I also miss how personal and customized the experience can be as opposed to simply buying biscuits from a shop. In a very weird way, I also miss seeing the sight of lambs around the city, even though their slaughtering always made me sad. It’s this mixture of elements that made Eid distinct in Cairo.”
Maryyam Abdulrazek, currently in Egypt.
“It was always the happiest time for me as a child. I would make sure to buy my eid outfits at least a week before the holiday. The outfit had to be complete and include everything, such as the accessories, the socks, and even the hair accessories, and I would make sure to sleep next to it because I was too scared it would get ruined with all the other clothes in the wardrobe. When I wake up the next morning, I would wash my face, get dressed and then my friends would be waiting for me right outside my house so that we can run around and celebrate around the neighborhood. We would buy our favorite snacks from the koshk, like Chipsy, and then buy the Eid crackers to celebrate. After that, we would always eat our favourite dish, which is Koshary, and then go to the playground to play for a couple more hours. When we get tired, we would go to one of our friend’s house or they would come to mine.”
Gamal ElDin, currently in Egypt.
“There was a certain Eid spirit during childhood that cannot be found any other time throughout our lives. We would stay awake all night on Arafat day until the next Eid morning for Eid prayer, and all of our relatives would be at home. After Eid prayer, we would all gather around the table to have breakfast, which was always the best time for memories. The rest of the day is spent on the roof of our house, where we would prepare the BBQ and then eat later in the day. After that, we would ride our cars and drive around the entire neighborhood with the music blasting in full volume. But today, none of these things happen anymore. It was completely different when we were children.”
Sara Amr, currently in Egypt.
“Eid prayer used to be a huge thing for me as a child, and had a influence on me. It’s quite rare today to feel as excited to go and perform Eid prayer, but in the past I used to always go as a child because there was a whole other feeling of excitement, especially waking up very early in the morning and going with my family. It was definitely a different time as a child.”
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