The whole of K.S.A is decorated like a bride and is glittering with lighted inanimate motifs of the crescent moon,dallah(Arabic coffeepot),Khanjar(dagger),Egyptian lamps(Fanoos),Kites,Palm trees and other geometrical patterns..
Holidays: People are in 'relax' mode with a week of holidays.Most people,who like to spend the last days of ramadan in Makkah and Madinah are ready with their travel plans.
Spirituality:'umrah' tarawih prayers at 1 a.m and charity(zakat-2.5 %of one's total wealth each year given to the poor&Fitrah-a fixed amount for each family member also given to the poor)
Rush hour:Traffic winds like a giant python of scintillating lights,while people rush to shop till they drop for all household items, clothes and gifts .The malls and restaurants are open from 9p.m to 2 a.m.The transformation of people from sky larks to night owls is dramatic.
Shopping: Special Eid collections of clothing, accessories, cosmetics, perfumes are available from all top brands around the world.Gifts of jewelry,accessories and toys (for kids) are bought for the family members for Eid.Women from India and Pakistan also shop for glass bangles in a myriad colors and also spend the night decorating their hands with henna apart from the visits to the beauty salons or spas.
Popular Demand:On the eve of Eid, gourmet chocolates, petite pastry delicacies,cakes,flowers,and scented candles are bought by people for their homes, families and friends.
Eid prayers: begin early morning around 6 a.m. which are attended by men, women and children.
Celebration:The prayers are followed by families rushing back home for a celebration or for Eid brunches in five star hotels.Everything closes down and silence descends on the cities and if one venture outside in the evening it probably looks dull and boring after one whole month of hustle bustle.There is a beautiful display of fireworks put up for the following three days.The remaining part of the Eid vacation is spent visiting friends, hosting barbecue parties and other fun filled outdoor activities.
Sheer Korma:Vermicelli Pudding
1 ltr milk
100 ml of condensed milk
sugar as required
100 gms fine vermicelli
dried dated soaked overnight and slivered
10 almonds soaked and slivered
1 tbs sunflower seeds(chironji)
2 tbs california raisins
2 tbs cashew nuts
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
3 tbs ghee/clarified butter
Method: Boil milk with the condensed milk on a low flame till the milk is reduced to almost 2/3 of its original quantity.This is what lends it a distinct khoya like taste if you are not intending to add adultrerated khoya bought from the market.This is also what makes it superior in taste to the 'semiya paysam' made in Andhra along with the quality of fine hair strand like vermicelli used for its preparation.The vermicelli used for 'paysam' is coarse and thick.Add sugar and cardamom powder to the milk and let it boil further.In the meantime toast all the dry fruits in a tbs of ghee, on a low flame taking care all the while not to burn them.Also fry the vermicelli in 2tbs of ghee to a golden brown color.Now add the fine vermicelli to the milk and let cook for 2-3 minutes and then add the dry fruits and serve in special sheer korma cups/fruit salad bowls.Yields:3 -4 servings.
Note: On the day of Eid, sheer korma is not prepared and kept before hand.The milk is left to boil and the reduced milk is kept ready along with the toasted dry fruits and vermicelli in separate dishes.As guests begin to come in the sheer korma is assembled together.The prepared milk is reheated and the other ingredients are added to it and served immediately.This way one can offer sheer korma for the next few days within minutes without wasting any.
Have a great Eid, and if you are among the fortunate few to enjoy the luxuries that life has to offer do send silent prayers for the people around the world who are deprived due to war, violence,poverty, terrorism,drought and recession.Also reflect on how this ramadan has changed you for the better..and help others with humility and a sense of renewed purpose.
(Eid greetings in Arabic calligraphy courtesy:www.clickr.com. The photographs by me are a humble effort to capture the theme and mood of Eid.Also find the picture of 'Sheer Korma' and the fine vermicelli I've used in the centre of the photo pile).
For him: Perfumes,cuff links, watches and gadgets.
For Her:Jewelry,luxury watches, perfumes, accessories and please men don't give kitchen gadgets as gifts..they are useful but not gifts.Also visit http://www.savoir-faire.com/ for further gift ideas.
For the book worm: In keeping with the Eid theme...'Standing Alone in Mecca:An American woman's struggle for the soul of Islam by Asra.Q.Nomani, The search of beauty in Islam: A conference of the books By Khaled Abou Al fadl are great reads.
In the end I would like to say -"Thank You, W, for your support, (for using up our precious family time for blogging)and for always thinking I am your equal and not just your better half.
Eid Mubarak to all!