Illustration by Darren Whittington via darrenwhittington.com

Another name for Eid al Adha is “Greater Eid” and another name for Eid al Fitr is “Lesser Eid” but as a child, I had a hard time remembering which was which and I would always mix the two names up. I remember mistaking Eid al Adha as the Lesser Eid because we’d get less money on it and Eid al Fitr as the Greater Eid because we’d get more money on it.

When I was growing up, kids didn’t really receive a lot of money or gifts on Eid al Adha. It wasn’t part of the culture to gift on Eid al Adha the way that we do on Eid al Fitr. It’s similar to how gift giving is different on Easter compared to Christmas. On Easter, children don’t receive a substantial amount of gifts; instead they get a simple Easter baskets filled with chocolate, candy and small favours. In 2016, the average American spent $28.11 on Easter candy gifts and $46.70 on non-candy gifts bringing the total spending on Easter gifts to $74.81. For Christmas on the other hand, the average American in 2015 spent $830 solely on gifts. As you can tell by these numbers, the gift giving traditions on Easter and Christmas are significantly different – with Easter gifts requiring less spending than Christmas.

For me, culturally, this is how Eid al Adha was too. Gift giving was a much smaller aspect of the holiday compared to Eid al Fitr. A possible reason for this could be Eid al Adha’s animals are expensive and it culturally resulted in a smaller budget for gifting.

Generally our experience of religious holidays varies based on culture though. A Turkish American friend recounts that in Turkish culture (specifically Istanbul), children get the same amount of Eid money (called “bakshish” in Turkish) on Eid al Adha as they do on Eid al Fitr. An Algerian American friend, on the other hand, describes an experience similar to my own; children in Algerian culture receive less money and gifts on Eid al Adha compared to Eid al Fitr; the gift giving element just isn’t that large for the second Muslim feast.

But just because children don’t receive as much money on Eid al Adha doesn’t mean the holiday isn’t as fun for them. For many countries around the world, the fun of Eid al Adha for children lies in playing with the livestock animals when they’re purchased and brought home at the start of the holy days.

Of course North American kids don’t get the experience of having a live petting zoo in their yard in the days preceding Eid al Adha, so many American Muslim moms might opt for gifts on Eid al Adha to make it fun for kids.

Do you like for children to receive gifts on both Muslim holidays? Or do you like for the gift giving traditions of each holiday to be different the way we see at Christmas and Easter and the way we traditionally see in some Muslim cultures for Eid?

Favours on Eid al Adha like how we see at Easter and gifts on Eid al Fitr like how we see at Christmas OR gifts akin to Christmas gifts on both Muslim holidays? Let me know in the comments below!



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