Has Eid become materialistic?

Posted on August 28, 2012



Snoopy Bag of gifts. Seen better days.

I remember the first Eid gifts I received when I was eight. It was the one thing I’d wanted so bad – a Casio watch! They were in a Snoopy and Peanuts goodie bag that me and my younger brother received when we were little. Inside, our mum was creative – there’d be an assortment of sweets, little treats, maybe even a watch, a football or a card with some money inside with a few packets of Hubba Bubba Bubble Gum. To do this day, those bags are still in my mum’s wardrobe peering out of the wardrobe, laid to sit on a shelf unwanted and hanging off. It is fair to say that the bag has seen better days with its condition.

But it’s because it was in my vision that has in some way inspired me to take to the laptop and write/type this up on a day like Eid. Eid ul-Fitr, which commemorates the end of the Islamic month of Ramadan, where believers are made to fast for thirty days, before a festival of the feast, which is literally what Eid ul-Fitr is translated from Arabic. A time when families come together and eat to their hearts content with eyes bigger than their stomachs from all the fasting has brought on: shrunken bellies and even more shrunken appetites.


It wouldn’t be Eid without it.

Though I’m not sure the same can be said for the bulging wallet of cash and credit cards to buy gifts and luxury items for the big day itself. Why? Because I’ve noticed on how, much like Christmas having given way to being geared around gifts and materialism, Eid has gone down a very similar route. In the Middle East, TV adverts screen of must buys and have-not-wants right the way through Ramadan that would make Christmas campaigns here in the West look and feel like a Mazuma.com ad on 4Music.

It’s also clear that at whatever time of year, there’ll be many Arabs that come to visit London with more brass than sense spend, spend and spend some more whilst paying at a premium for their rented townhouse overlooking Hyde Park, complete with a nanny whilst their father is rarely seen due to business. OK, so it’s a nuance and am taking a swipe at a race which I am a part of. But in saying that, how far off am I from suggesting that the very soul of a religious festival that is holy and sacred for over a billion people worldwide is being ripped out?

And it isn’t just limited to religious festivals either – look at the city of Mecca. Hotels that charge $50,000 a night and big multi-nationals have made way via the bulldozing of mountains and ancient sites, just to add a few zeros. How much is enough? Never is never enough. And tragically of all, not even a symbol of righteousness and peace for Mankind is part of the bigger picture in a material world.