Iraq: Not in the Mood for Eid and Special Occasions

Muslims around the world are marking Eid Al Adha, a religious festival which marks the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son to Allah and the end of the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. Iraqi bloggers seem to be united and are in no mood for celebration.

Iraqi Layla Anwar says she doesn't find a reason for celebration. She writes:

You know something, I have stopped celebrating holidays, special occasions and the rest…
What I mean is that my festivities are kept to a strict minimum.
I don't do anything for the Eid, neither for Christmas. However, my family keeps the Eid tradition alive and I comply.

Baghdad Dentist was out and about and updates us about Eid in Baghdad, where he writes about family visits and attending weddings, which are only marred by the fact that there is a war in the background. He adds:

.at about 6p.m. i went to the wedding party of our neighbour. it was a nice one.every one was dancing and laughing. i saw many boys and girls who grew up. my sister's family stayed,the next day we went to manny neighborhoods in baghdad just hanging over. at night we went to Al-Rubei'y street. i like it because the shops are great and its the only one without concrete barriers on pavements and the people their are more motivated than other where you find trush,concrete barriers,just like chaos!!.there were horrible traffic jams everywhere bcoz of the checkpoints.

Another blogger Faiza Al Arji discusses the spiritual significance of Eid. She says:

عندما كنت صغيرة , كنت اظن ان العيد هو فقط ملابس جديدة وحلوى وزيارة الاقارب او مدينة الالعاب ,
عهد قريب من حياتي بقيت افكر ان العيد هو فقط طقوس دنيويه مثل ترتيب البيت
وشراء شكولاته وحلويات وعصير للضيوف والذهاب للصالون حتى اقص شعري وارتب
مظهري وشراء ملابس جديدة لافراد العائله جميعهم

والان ابتسم على سذاجتي تلك , لم اكن افهم ما معنى هذه المناسبات روحيا , ما هو المغزى الروحي من وراء هذه الطقوس ..
بالنسبة لي الان صرت ارى الاعياد هي مناسبات للاستغفار وذكر الله وشكره على نعمه التي لا تعد ولا تحصى..
وهي مناسبات للتقرب الى الله والشعور بسعادة هذا القرب والأنس بالله
يهمني كثيرا الشكولاته ولا زيارة الصالون ولا الملابس الجديدة ولا زيارات
الناس والثرثرة والكلام الفارغ عن الدنيا ومكاسبها ومظاهرها او قال وقيل
عن فلان وفلانه ..

When I was young, I used to think that Eid was only new clothes, candy and visiting relatives and the amusement park. Until recently, I continued to think that Eid was a tradition like cleaning the house, buying chocolate, candy and juice for guests and going to the hairdresser to have my hair cut, looking nice and buying new clothes for the family.

I now smile at how niave I was. I didn't understand the spiritual value of the occasion, and the spiritual reason behind the ritual. I now see Eid as an occasion to ask Allah for forgiveness, remember Him and thank Him for His blessings. Eid is a time to get closer to God and feel happy with this closeness. I don't care any more for the chocolate and visiting the hairdresser, or the new clothes or visiting people and gossiping.

Iraqi Signor, who lives in London, is also finding it difficult to fund joy in celebrations. He tells us about his childhood Eid experiences and then adds:

This was how I celebrated Eid more than a decade ago. Today, as hard as I try and as desperately as I search, I cannot find much happiness in such communal festivities. People always asked me why I never look happy whenever there's something to celebrate; my robotic response is something along the lines of “Who said I'm not happy? I am, but I'm not going to dance about it, am I?”

He further notes:

Eid is embarrassing; Christmas is cold and birthdays are, well, check the archive. True happiness needs no occasion and we should be forever grateful to be alive and to have one another.

Will Iraqis be celebrating Eid any time soon?

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