The Spirit of Eid

14 Aug

Growing up in various countries, such as Yemen or Tanzania, where Islam is the predominant religion, gave me some of the happiest experiences that I will never forget. The ones that stand out the most are the times of celebration; when people living in some of the hardest conditions came together and gave it their all to make these special days memorable, with an emphasis on harmony by creating a united atmosphere for all.

What I remember most was people’s generosity; the acts of selfless giving were countless from neighbours and friends but also from passing strangers who wished to spread on their own happy blessings. The sounds and smells all magical to a 9 year old girl from a young ex-pat family, encouraged by parents to join in celebrations that I wouldn’t necessarily see once I went to boarding school back in Britain.

These celebrations I am referring to are of course Eid-ul-Fitr; the Muslim holiday that marks the end  of Ramadan; celebrating the conclusion of the 29 or 30 day dawn-to-sunset fasting and the name literally translates as the festivity of breaking the fast. This is a celebration around the world with the common goal of unity and the joyful celebration of Muslim beliefs.

I now live in an area of London that is predominately Muslim. This weekend just gone, I walked down the road to the indoor market for fresh vegetables and you can feel the charged electricity of energy in the air in anticipation of Eid on this Sunday 19th August. The street stalls that pop up after dark to provide sumptuous treats are only a hint of what will be available this coming weekend. If you’re a foodie like me, it’s amazing to see the streets become like an Aladdin’s cave of delicacies to be shared and enjoyed. An opportunity to try something new and take home to your family and friends. Taste sensations that naturally make you want to pass on the good will to all. If you do buy some treats perhaps get a little extra to share with your neighbours or colleagues. Or how about having your own variation of an Eid party? Purple Grape has a selection of fantastic delivery food options and check out our special offer lasting until 9th September.

Some of my favourite treats include barfi – particularly pista (pistachio), gujiya and gulab jamun. The first time I tried barfi was when I was very young in Zanzibar during Eid, walking through the myriad of streets and chatting to the Arabic street traders when a little boy ran over giggling and shared his coveted piece with me. I thought my mouth would explode with the taste sensations they gave me. We didn’t have chocolate in Tanzania, unless you wanted to eat the horrible imitation stuff that didn’t melt, so this blew me away. It is still my favourite sweet and each time I taste it I’m back in Zanzibar with the little boy giggling over our generously shared treat.

At Purple Grape we did an event recently where we provided a selection of Indian delicacies. Many of the guests had never had the opportunity to try these and it was fantastic to watch their faces as they tried a first tentative bite and then came back again and again.

If you are at a loose end this Sunday, I’d really recommend popping along to an area that will be celebrating Eid to watch people getting into the spirit of the day, to see the decorations but also to see the abundance of beautiful food that will be displayed. If you do, take some photos and tweet how you joined in the celebrations @purplegrapekim #purplegrapeeid


Eid Sa‘īd (Happy Eid!)