“How the year has flown!” my mother remarks. “In just a few weeks, Ramadan is starting.” I smile up at her over the rim of my tea cup. “You know, I have done all my samosas and pies already, now just a few more savories and we are ready, In sha Allah.”
“But Ma”, I say, “all this preparation for Ramadan, and what’s the plan for Eid?”
Silence… followed by a deep sigh and… “Oh well, I guess we’ll do the same thing we do every year. I’ll be standing in the kitchen from Fajr until Asr.”
Sounds familiar? Yet, this need not be your fate this Eid: there are many halal ways of ensuring a fun-filled, rewarding Eid day.
“Ma”, I say, “what about doing Eid a little different this year?”
“Different?!” she scoffs, “how will this Eid be any different than all the others”, she asks, incredulously. I say: “Let’s have a grand Eid get-together, with all our friends and family, lots of food and lots of fun!”
So, dear readers, I’d like to share with you my plan for a great Eid get-together that’s guaranteed to meet everyone’s expectations, Insha’Allah:
First things first
Early to be bed, early to rise
This is probably the hundredth time you’re hearing this, but seriously, getting to bed early on the night preceding Eid, is a great place to start. There are no Taraweeh prayers to be performed and no Suhoor (pre-dawn meal) to wake up for, so use this opportunity and cash in on a good night’s rest (of course, after you have prayed Isha prayer!)
Prepare for the Eid prayer the night before
Imagine you’re invited to a wedding. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be trying on different outfits, looking for a matching hijab and shoes days before! Likewise, the day of Eid is so special so why not treat it as such? Take out your best clothes the night before, ready for the morning. This way, there’s no faffing around in the morning for something to wear, and no delays. Remember, it is a sunnah to make ghusl (shower) and wear one’s best clothes on the day of Eid!
Wake up for Fajr
Fajr time has always had that hint of magic for me; everything is bright and clean, the sun is rising and it’s a brand new day – SubhanAllah! Waking up for Fajr prayer on the morning of Eid means that you kick-start your Eid celebration in the most proper and fantastic way!
Now that the most important points are covered, let’s focus on how to organize an epic Eid get-together.
Organizing a great Eid get-together
Here’s a fabulous printable Eid event planner based on my 7 tips below to help you organize a great Eid get-together In sha Allah:
Who will run the show?
All great events have an event manager at the forefront, so why should your Eid day celebration be treated any different? Elect someone from amongst your family, friend or community who is responsible, level-headed, a logical thinker, is able to delegate fairly and is enthusiastic. If you feel you have these skills, take the lead; if not, find someone who does. Then round up volunteers to assist with preparations, and make a list of who will do what. Assign individuals or teams who will be responsible for tasks such as invitations, budget/finance/fund-raising, catering, transport arrangements, venue, activities, eid decorations, etc.
Decide ahead of time where your Eid celebration will be held and who will be invited. As you’re short-listing suitable venues, take into consideration things such as male-female segregation, outdoor/indoor play areas and special needs of your guests, such as wheelchair access, bathroom facilities and special parking.
Make sure you know the exact location – get directions ahead of time, create a map and keep it ready to share with invitees. You don’t want people to waste half of the day getting lost! Be mindful of things beyond your control, such as weather conditions, or someone taking ill unexpectedly. Make sure you advice attendees to carry umbrellas (for rain or sunshine), a light jersey in case the air gets chilly, and keep your first aid kit at the ready – you never know who may need a band aid.
Decide how you will communicate the plans and itinerary for the day to your family and friends. Look for communication methods that are quick, reliable and easily accessible. Applications such as Whatsapp or Facebook are great to create groups for consistent and quick communication. Phone calls add a lot of value to your invitation and makes the invitees feel respected too.
Ensure that adequate transport arrangements have been made in advance to and from your chosen venue. Choose the best mode of transport depending on the number of people expected to attend. One idea is asking everyone to meet at a central point and then car pooling from there. If you’re using public transport such as a bus service, ensure that bookings are done in due time – you don’t want to keep your family and friends waiting. Once everyone’s boarded, do a quick head count to make sure no one got left behind.
Once you’ve confirmed how many people will be attending the Eid get-together, short-list a menu that’s enjoyable by all and within the per person budget as well. Make sure you choose a reliable and well-loved caterer because nothing is more important in an Eid party than the food! Be mindful of dietary requirements before finalizing the menu, such as diabetics, low sodium, no red meat, etc, and ensure that suitable meals are provided to all. Ensure beforehand that the caterers know the venue well, and make arrangements to set up tables there accordingly and on time. You don’t want the guests hungry and waiting! You can also ask everyone to bring traditional homemade Eid treats to share.
Budgeting and finance
Volunteers allocated to budgeting/finance should factor in costs for the venue, transport, catering and any other additional expenses to be shared before coming up with a reasonable per-person estimate that each attendee should pay. Set up payment methods, like bank transfers to a reliable person in your team or by requesting attendees to make payments to particular people on your team so you’ve collected funds in advance. If you’re faced with a situation where a certain invitee cannot contribute financially, remember that as Eid is a time for celebrating, it is also a time for giving. Try to source funds to sponsor those who can’t afford to attend. Keep this information confidential and the Almighty will surely be pleased with you.
Activities & games
I reckon that the person tasked with planning the activities for the day has the best job of all! You can really let your imagination take over with this one. Make sure you’ve planned activities for all age groups so everyone has a blast! Have both outdoor and indoor games and activities so no one makes excuses not to join (think of games that teenagers will prefer over their gadgets!). Treasure hunts are well-loved by both old and young; you could hide Eid gifts in the garden and have everyone hunt for them. This is bound to provide lots of entertainment and laughs for everyone! Board games are also a great crowd-pleaser and almost everyone will be keen to play. If you’re feeling creative, you can make an Islamic version of “30 Seconds” – this one is sure to get people thinking and talking! Since Eid is also in the summer this year, try looking for a venue that has a pool: this and water-gun/balloon fights alone can keep the kids happy the entire day! Have henna stalls for the girls so they can really get into the Eid mood; and have matches of soccer or cricket or any other games that you know members of your community will definitely participate in and enjoy. Remember to keep the fun within the conditions prescribed in the Qur’an and the Sunnah.
I hope this 7-point Eid event plan has given you some ideas and lots to think about. No more excuses about Eid being boring or ‘just another day’ – download the Eid event planner now and organize an epic Eid day celebration! Get in touch with the people in your circle, get creative and have fun planning and hosting a great Eid gathering, In sha Allah!
Do let us know how you are planning to make your Eid an unforgettable experience!