Opening up my eyes to wake up before sunrise was something I did during Christmas morning. The nostalgia of running down the stairs to receive my gifts is a feeling I will never forget! However, it is a feeling that I lost and will not be able to feel again. I am a convert to Islam. I am sure many Muslims around the world feel the same joy on Eid morning, as I did on Christmas many years ago. Now, all major holidays are hard for me. The Christian holidays like Christmas and Easter, I celebrate them with my family to respect them but I don’t feel the spiritual joy of it anymore. And the Muslim ones, I have had no family or friends to celebrate them with, up until last year when I got married. Fortunately, now I celebrate them with my husband and my in-laws. I still do not have my parents, siblings, or other family members celebrating my new holiday with me — and who knows if they ever will.
The city I just left, after living there for 4.5 years, I was there the whole time without celebrating one Muslim holiday or even going to a mosque. There was no mosque but there were some Muslims, whom I knew. It required me to get married and move a few states away in order to celebrate an Eid. But it should not have taken that long!
Last Eid-Al-Adha 2015, was the first Eid I’ve ever celebrated, I have been a Muslim for 2 years at that time. My Turkish in-law aunt was so sweet to me last year and she wanted me to feel important and loved. She invited many converts besides me from the community as well and had the Eid-Al-Adha dinner in honor of me. I never felt like that on a holiday before. She is one of the sweetest and most generous woman I have met. I was and I am very lucky to have the in-laws and husband that I have as a convert.
I want to emphasize again that it should not haven taken that long nor should it take that long for any convert to enjoy an Eid. We converts should not have to wait to get married in order to enjoy Eid.
A fellow convert said to me: “Eid is one of the most depressing days for me. It reminds me of how truly alone I am. It reminds me that all we really have is Allah. It’s like any other day at home but inside it’s important to me. I go home and cry myself to sleep because I cannot take the reality of how alone I truly am. No one likes to be alone.” When I hear things like this it breaks my heart. I know my convert friends and other converts feel the same way and they feel alone.
I haven’t been in a Muslim community but there were still Muslims around and no one wanted to celebrate with me or would invite me. Unfortunately, I still see the same thing where converts are celebrating Eid alone or not at all. No one should have to celebrate Eid alone.
My friend goes on by saying, “Inside my heart I yearn to make my own little family that I can celebrate Eid with.” I feel the same way when I have kids. I think that giddy feeling I got on Christmas will be the same feeling I got during Christmas as a child.
Many born Muslims have a strong family presence and most of us converts lose all that when we convert. Could you imagine to have no family during Ramadan or Eid? Fasting would have almost no meaning. It is not the same when you are alone. So born Muslims or even fellow converts like me should try to reach out to converts and invite them to our Eid dinners.