Category Archives: Eid Al-Fitr

May Day, and Your May Book of Days

And now here is May. Walpurgis Night on the last night of April led us into May Day and Beltane. The conclusion of the Muslim month-long celebration of Ramadan just happened to coincide this year and now it is time to shift greetings from Ramadan Mubarak! to Eid Mubarak!, for now it is Eid, the Sweet Festival. As the month progresses, there will be more and more celebrations of spring and ultimately the spring to summer, for spring is fleeting and ephemeral.

Here now is your Convivio Book of Days Calendar for the month of May. It is our gift to you, a printable PDF, and as usual, an excellent companion to the blog. Cover star this month: a 1913 painting by Iso Rae called “Rogation Day Procession in Étaples” –– and there, in Rogation Sunday, you have another of the lesser known holidays this month. It is a month that’s full of days like this, which is all the more reason to check out the calendar. Happy May! Eid Mubarak! May the month bring many blessings.

Image from our May Book of Days cover star: “Rogation Day Procession in Étaples” by Iso Rae. Oil on canvas, 1913 [Public domain via Wikimedia Commons].


Under the Crescent Moon

Ramadan moves through the year, each year earlier and earlier, and this year it begins with the sighting of this month’s new crescent moon, which in most places is expected to be this evening, this 12th of April. It’s not so much that Ramadan moves around as that it always comes in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and the calendar, being a lunar one, operates differently from solar calendars. Ramadan was a summer holiday a few years ago, and now it is a spring holiday, and it won’t be long before it is a winter one… and sometimes Ramadan can come twice in a solar year, which will happen next in 2030, when it will be celebrated in January and again the following December.

Ah, but now it is spring and now comes Ramadan and with it, Muslims will fast during the daylight hours and eat and drink only when the sun is down, all through this month from one crescent moon sighting to the next. It is a time of reflection, a time of thankfulness, a time to gather with family, and a time, more so than other times of the year, for good deeds. Before the sun rises each day, many families will enjoy a big meal called suhoor, a meal meant to sustain through the day. (This is definitely not the time for a slice of buttered toast for a pre-dawn breakfast!) And once the sun sets again, the fast is broken with a sweet delectable date, followed by a meal called iftar.

With the sighting of the next crescent moon, this year in May, Ramadan will conclude with a big feast called Eid al-Fitr: the Sweet Festival. Our friend Manal Aman of Hello Holy Days! in Canada has for years been following her calling to make these holidays mainstream, something familiar to us all. She designs cards for Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr, and other products, too, like countdown calendars and gift bags. Her work is gorgeous, and, I think, so important in helping us build bridges rather than walls. We sell her cards at Convivio Bookworks and encourage you to have a look and if you know people who celebrate these holidays, join us in sending them greetings. In fact, this year, we are participating in Manal’s Great Big Eid Card Swap and we’ve been buddied-up with a pen pal in Jackson Heights, New York. I am putting our card in the post today. You’ve got a whole month––all the way until the next crescent moon––to do the same for your friends who are celebrating. And when you do, tell them, “Ramadan Mubarak!”

Shop our collection of Manal’s cards for this season of Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr by clicking here. And back in November, Manal interviewed me on Instagram TV for her series ahead of Small Business Saturday; we had a fun time chatting about the book arts, about my mom, about our Shaker Rose Water and my experience as a print intern at the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Community, and why it’s so important to us to carry Manal’s work in our shop. You can watch the 30-minute interview by clicking here.


Eid Mubarak

This year, when Ramadan began, Seth and I mailed one of the new Ramadan and Eid al Fitr cards we sell at our online Book of Days Catalog to Tara and Sami, who run The Pelican on Lake Avenue in Downtown Lake Worth. I don’t know if we have the best business model, exactly––a big motivation for me in including Ramadan and Eid cards in our catalog was simply so I could send one to Tara and Sami as a thank you for all their kindnesses to us over the years––but I’m really glad we offer these cards. I feel like we are doing a good thing by including them, for a spirit of inclusion is what we strive to build through this blog and through our little company. Inclusion and understanding (in my experience, anyway) make for a far better, stronger community.

With Eid al Fitr, which begins with the first sighting of the new crescent moon this month, Ramadan concludes and the month of fasting in the Islamic calendar ends. Depending on where you are in the world, Eid will begin tonight or tomorrow night. Customs for Eid al Fitr vary widely from country to country, but charity and prayer, respect to others, and food, especially sweets, are at the forefront. The greeting for the season is Eid Mubarak: a blessed Eid.

My ancestral home in Southern Italy is a place in close proximity to the Islamic world, and so there is a strong Arabic influence on the culture. That influence is probably most notable in the regional dialects of Puglia and in its cuisine, all of which have been brought to the States, too, through the immigrants that came to this country in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Last week, when I went to mow the lawn at the family homestead, my mother sent me home with roasted red peppers she had just made, as well as an old family recipe I love: zucchini and onions, cut into long strips, sautéed, and finished with vinegar and fresh mint. I don’t know about the roasted peppers, but the zucchini dish, which we eat chilled a day or two after it is made, so that the flavors develop and meld, is distinctly Arabic. It’s a dish that was handed down to my mother from my grandmother and certainly through a long line of grandmothers through time immemorial.

It may be the result of growing up in a place as culturally diverse as South Florida, where people from all over the world gather to forge a community, but I love seeing these connexions. They are, to me, the strongest bridges, especially when we take those influences and call them our own (perhaps without even realizing the commonality of our roots). We get our nourishment not just from food but from each other, through a thread that reaches back through the centuries. Talk about blessings! Eid Mubarak.

Image: Momma’s roasted peppers, dressed with fresh olive oil and flat leaf parsley, and zucchini with vinegar and mint. So good! We’ll include the recipes in the “real book” version of the Convivio Book of Days. Guess what? I’m almost done writing the proposal and the first chapter!