On the holy occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr, Muslims all over the world exchange warm wishes with their near and dear ones and offer them love and gratitude. Another tradition that is inextricably linked with Eid celebrations is Eidaat or Eidi i.e. the tradition of giving gifts to children by elders. This gift could be anything from money and wrapped presents to flowers and sweets.
It is believed that this tradition of giving gifts to young ones was started to encourage them to fast during the month of Ramadan so that they can imbibe the good things that the religion teaches them. Many elders also recollect that they were given Eidi only when they wished the elders on Eid in a proper manner. Sometimes gifts would be placed on a table marked with the name of the receiver or sometimes the elder would personally give it to the child.
The tradition of Eidaat or Eidi still continues but has transformed with the changing times. With the increase in the purchasing power of elders, the expectations of children have also changed. Traditionally, money was handed out to children as Eidi. But today, smartphones, video games, and gadgets have replaced the simple Eidi of yesteryear’s. Children prefer wrapped gifts to money and most elders also favour giving gifts to children as Eidi. This can be attributed to the greater variety of options available. There is a plethora of Eid gifts in the market ranging from special chocolates, sweets, dresses, books, games, and gadgets to choose from. Giving a gift instead of money to a child also indicates that the giver felt the child was important enough to merit the time and trouble it took to find something appropriate. Moreover, for children, gifts almost always outweigh money. While some welcome this change, others hold on to the custom of giving money as Eidi to children. Some families have found the perfect balance between tradition and changing times. They give both money and gifts to the little ones.
As most families live in different geographies in today’s globalised world, the tradition of Eidi is also being carried out online, and presents are shipped to different parts of the world. There are many international courier companies that deliver the precious Eidi to the doorsteps of the happy recipient.
The tradition of Eidaat has changed over the years but not the emotions associated with it. It is still a celebration of love and blessings of the elders for children. And every Eid, children still eagerly wait for their Eidaat.