20 August 2012

Celebrate Eid (by various authors)

Eid Mubarak
This book has stories, information about the festival of Eid, and ‘fun activities’ – things to make and do – for children.
The seven short stories present a range of events, situations, and feelings related to Eid. In one, a boarding school boy finds himself running an important race during Ramzan without any sehri. Another child confronts his fear of Mathematics with the help of a little fish, and his festival day turns out to be special in different ways. One story deals with a religious riot, and another with the separation of families and loss of loved ones at Partition. In the story I enjoyed most, Letters to Abba by Anu Kumar, a young girl writes to her father in a remote border outpost. These simple and affectionate letters weave in complex emotions and insights of imminent adulthood.
The factual information, written by Sulaiman Ahmad, is broken down into six sections which give the significance of the festival, what makes the moon important, and the rituals and practices of Eid. There is also information about the minor differences in the way Eid is celebrated in India, in contrast to other countries.
This book is well written and easy to read – though there are parts that are more formal than others, and this could have been evened out. Between the stories and essays, the feeling of Ramzan is skilfully depicted: its focus on virtue and abstinence, the importance of sharing with those less fortunate than one, and the rising anticipation which culminates in the joyous celebration of Eid.