Monday was a day of excitement and celebration in our home and on the streets of Kampala… Eid was finally here!
Approximately 12% of Uganda’s population is Muslim (according to the last census, taken in 2002) but the day is always declared a national holiday. In true Ugandan spirit, huge parties were scheduled for beach resorts in Kampala and Entebbe, and there was a definite party feel on the streets too.
In our Muslim home, the atmosphere was a little more serious and reflective however, marking the end of a long month of fasting and abstaining from ‘bad behaviour’ such as arguing, fighting and listening to hip hop and dance music. For Fahad, Madina’s oldest son, who had been fasting whilst at school, and not eating or drinking until sunset every day (7pm), Eid was both a relief and a sense of achievement.
Everyone woke up early and put on their best clothes, the kids receiving an extra-thorough scrubbing down from Madina in one of the plastic basins. I and another volunteer who arrived last week from Denmark were asked if we wanted to go with them the mosque, so of course we said yes! After putting on our long dresses and veils, all 12 of us piled into the car for the short drive to the mosque.
We arrived just in time and joined the throngs of people streaming inside, splitting off into men and women. We went up onto one of the balconies with the children whilst the boys and men stayed on the ground floor where the imam and other leaders were. After the prayers in Arabic, the imam spoke in Luganda so even with my improving language skills, I only picked out a few words and phrases about setting an example to others and leading a holy life.
Afterwards, we were directed outside to join everyone for food, which was being served on huge dishes on mats on the grass. Although it was only 10:30 in the morning, everyone tucked in to the rice, meat and chapattis with great enthusiasm, passing round bottles of fizzy drinks and water.
The rest of the day was spent at home, relaxing and cooking yet more food – a chicken was bought and killed for the occasion. I didn’t eat it but this lot enjoyed it… Eid Mubarak! 🙂