Eid was an awesome fun time during the early generations of Islam. Muslims would gather on the fields together and pray the Eid prayer, everybody would go including the women and children, then they would celebrate with Halal fun such as is reported in the following narration:
Ayesha narrates that, “Allah's Prophet (peace be upon him) came to my house while two girls were singing beside me the songs of Buath (a story about the war between the two tribes of the Ansar, the Khazraj and the Aus, before Islam). The Prophet (peace be upon him) lay down and turned his face to the other side. Then Abu Bakr came and spoke to me harshly saying, "Musical instruments of Satan near the Prophet (peace be upon him)?" Allah's messenger (peace be upon him) turned his face towards him and said, "Leave them." When Abu Bakr became inattentive, I signalled to those girls to go out and they left. It was the day of Eid, and the Abyssinians were playing with shields and spears; so either I requested the Prophet (peace be upon him) or he asked me whether I would like to see the display. I replied in the affirmative. Then the Prophet (peace be upon him) made me stand behind him and my cheek was touching his cheek and he was saying, "Carry on! Oh Bani Arfida," till I got tired. The Prophet (peace be upon him) asked me, "Are you satisfied (Is that sufficient for you)?" I replied in the affirmative and he told me to leave. (Saheeh Bukhari 2:15:70)
The reason I am bringing up this point instead of the normal obligations and rituals that must be done on Eid day is because I feel Eid has become too ritualized. These days Eid is only about the Eid Prayer and nothing more, maybe some new clothes and one big meal but after that it is just like any other day for many people, but this is not the way it should be.
The disbelievers have many holidays and their holidays are fun and attractive, but we know it is prohibited to celebrate their religious holidays since it is a way of condoning their Shirk. The problem is that since we have made Eid boring, the kids naturally feel that the other religions have cooler holidays and are thus tempted to join their celebrations, this is why we need Eid!
Not just Eid prayer but a full package, Eid should not just be about the Salah in the morning but a day to remember for the young Muslims. If we make Eid special again then this would give young Muslims an alternative to unislamlic celebrations and will make them feel proud to be Muslims. So here are some tips to make Eid more special:
1) Try to unite the entire family:
This past Eidul Fitr was the best Eid I ever had, one main reason was that everybody from my mum's side of the family were united in one house for the full day, that alone made it special and memorable. One way that we can make Eid special is by getting as many relatives as possible together in one house.
2) Take off from work for the day:
This is a very important point, one of those things that really irritates me is when I see a Muslim close his shop for Christmas but keep it open Eid day, it shows which celebration is more important to him. If the father is working then it is not a holiday and no different than any other day. If you want to make Eid special for your kids, take the day off and spend it the entire day with them, it will only increase their love for you.
Worse than working on Eid day are those Muslims who take the day off yet force their Muslim employees to work on Eid day against their will and threaten to cut their salaries if they take the day off. This is hypocritical and oppression of your Muslim brothers and sisters on Eid day.
3)Hype your kids up
Many parents are so unenthusiastic about Eid that you can't blame their kids for not caring about it. Other parents are only concerned about the rituals, and seem to limit Eid to just that. Don't get me wrong, the rituals, be it the Eid prayer, the animal sacrifice on Eidul-Adha or the payment of Fitr on Eidul-Fitr, are all important but they are not the only part of Eid.
If the parents show excitement about Eid and prepare happily and talk to their children about what a special day it will be, this alone will make it more special for the kids.
4) Do something different and fun:
Take your kids somewhere special, have a party with Halal forms of entertainment, invite their friends for an afternoon Eid party, do any such creative thing to make Eid special for the family as long as it is Halal. Remember having fun and celebrating are not Haram, its the manner that you do it that matters.
5) Smile, Be Happy and avoid arguements:
Nothing ruins Eid more than a snarling man scolding the children for making noise, or two relatives fighting over Fiqh issues. Avoid any situation or people that make you angry and stay smiling. Remember smiling is a sunnah and very rewarding, it also brightens up the atmosphere.
These are just a few tips on improving the overall atmosphere of Eid so that it becomes a special memorable day for everyone. Remember if we make Eid special, it will increase the younger generations love of Islam, pride in their religion, self-esteem and give them a halal alternative to prohibited forms of celebration.
Please feel free to add any other tips you can think off for improving Eid.