Alhamdulillah, this Eid al-Fitr was way better than last year. I took a shower way early and went to a 24-hr Harris Teeter to get some last minute things to give as Eid gifts (I made cookies... from scratch, yes.) I finished preparing them, printed off a sheet from a book I have for a non-Muslim who was coming with me to the prayer about the Eid prayer and how it's different. Although... it was wrong.. um. I also looked at this neat site, which someone had emailed me the previous night. In fact, it's a great site for new Muslims (the Eid 101) and if I had seen it earlier I might have forwarded it to everyone I knew.
I remember my first Eid prayer, and a friend sent me a set of directions about the Eid prayer, advice like the takbeers to say on the way there, and how the prayer would be different.
The thing is, if you've never been to an Eid prayer before, how would you know? So the program by Mohammed Alshareef can really benefit a lot of people inshaaAllah, who might not otherwise know these things that are almost standard/tradition for Muslim families and don't warrant much thought. I went to the prayer alone that time... this time I took this non-Muslim lady with me, and knew just tons of people at the gathering. And got there early enough to line up and pray, and really enjoyed it. Only real criticism I can make is of the sisters (and I guess I can always criticize the sisters) who thought that the khutbah was an okay time to chit-chat. The khateeb was yelling at the top of his voice and still it was difficult to hear him, a problem only exacerbated by wagging tongues, way in the back. (Just one of many things I hate about being in the back!)
After the prayer I went to someone's house to eat a little... I guess I ate a lot, I was full by the end, then went home and slept... my roommate did some traveling, went to a lot of peoples' houses, some of my friends went to a Carnival, and I was even invited a few other places while I was sleeping but didn't make it. I just called it a day, had some very personal time with... and then went about studying--I had a test and paper due on Monday.
It wasn't really extravagant, but nice enough that I had someone to share it with... I hope I never take that for granted. I had to go straight "back to the grind" and I was ready for Eid to be over before it was... but I pray that I live to see and experience next year's Ramadan, because that certainly was a very special time.