Eid-ul–fitr is a time of grand festivity. After a month of austerity and prayer, the celebration allows us to be hearty and thankful for the blessings. The day is a whirlwind of activity. From the morning Eid salat until the tranquil sleep after all the mehmaandari, biriyani, and ghuraghuri all throughout the day have us all restive in anticipation.
But amidst all the merrymaking, there is also a tradition of utmost importance. Something, beneath the aforementioned festivities—is the true essence of Eid. Something the children look forward to on every Eid. I am, of course, writing about the Eidi hustle. And Eid-ul-Fitr is nothing but the hustle.
With every meeting with the relatives, there is a possibility of getting handed brand new, shiny bank notes. The satisfaction of rubbing gleaming notes together, the gratifying tune they harmonize—it is something that warrants some gleeful planning in the part of the recipients.
Which chacha gives Eidi regularly, which mami or fupi dishes out the most money, which cousin has procured a new job, and which particular relative can be cajoled to wring out more sweet, sweet cash—all is part of the machinations. There is also an inherent competition involved, who can acquire the most eidi. After all, earning the most baksheesh on Eid is always a great brag of your rank as the favourite.
And at the end of the day, there’s scuttle again on how to save the money? Should the money be given to a parent, only never to see it again? Secret it away in a covert nook? Spend it immediately? Maybe it’s time to get a bank account?
But the hustle for the children is a nightmare for the adults. The transition can be jarring even. One Eid you are getting money, and the next, nada, zip, Zero. If that wasn’t bad enough, the younglings chirping, “Eid er bakhshish dibana amake?” in such a sweet endearing voice and before you know it, you are broke after Eid. Oh, how the tides have turned.
But, we should happily ease into the responsibility. As the eidi we received made our day, we should make sure to continue this custom to the best of our efforts. “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” can be a good rule of thumb when distributing eidi. You can take a count of all the young ones and pay each TK50, 100, 500 or even 1,000 each! As long as it doesn’t sap your Eid bonus to dust, of course. And why not pay the ones who receive the least eidi more than others? Spread the wealth out evenly!
But we should practise caution. One shouldn’t give away eidi all willy-nilly and risk get marked by the precocious schemers. You have to be clever to work around them. Maybe lay waste to their plans and give their eidi money to their parents—in front of them.
At the end of the day, Eid-ul-Fitr is a day of unbridled celebration and festivity. And by being part of the Eidi tradition, we allow the felicity to proliferate even more.