Chand Raat -- aka: the "night of the moon". Chand raat is the last night of Ramadan and the eve of Eid-ul-Fitr. Tonight is chand raat (I'm sure no one in Cairo calls it that) and you can hear the traffic, fireworks and the buzz of the city getting ready for the celebration in the morning.
Growing up, chand raat was busy with preparations. Last minute cooking, ironing our new clothes (no kid of my mother's was going to show up to Eid prayers in already worn threads) and no matter how exhausted my mother was, she always made sure I had henna on my hands. Always. In the morning, we ate "savaiyah" (a sweet vermicelli dish) before dashing out the door to Eid prayers. The day that followed was a marathon blur of endless sweet and fatty food as we went from one Auntie's house to another.
We ate like were on a mission to avenge the month of fasting.
Today, I am in another country, thousands of miles away from my Mom. The traditional Eid sweet here is a cookie with a fig in the middle, dusted with sugar. We have some of those on the table but some things about Eid remain constant for me wherever in the world I go: "savaiyah" (aka: Sheer Korma) are bubbling away on the stove, I'm ironing my clothes for the morning and (much like my mother before me) trying to convince my husband to wear a traditional Pakistani suit tomorrow (he won't).
Tucked away in a little cup on my kitchen counter, some Egyptian henna waits my artistic inspiration (I'll post a photo but my prediction: a two year old child's art project gone wrong. On my hands for the next 4-6 weeks).
Tomorrow after Eid prayers, we're invited to breakfast at a new friend's place and then lunch and dinner with another. So I guess now we're the Aunties on the Eid day circuit...
Chaand Mubarak and Happy Eid to all
photo and text copyright cairomaniac 2008 and yes, that is my hand :-)