Festivals of Our Lives Mr Qazi Annayat Ur-Rehman
I was born in a village called Kazia in Pakistan in 1947 into a big family. There were 13 of us, brothers and sisters, I was the eldest of the siblings. Life wasn't too hard for us as my father had a good job. He was a head teacher of a school and my mother stayed at home to take care of the house and the rest of my younger siblings.
My early memory of Eid was a very happy one. As children we would have a wash then get dressed in new clothes and on the day my mother would make sweet noodles in the morning, which we ate before going off to pray the Eid Prayer. We did not have a Mosque in our village in those days so we gathered in a field to say our prayers. When we were finished, we never used to go back the same way home, we always went a different direction reciting a prayer back. Father used to say we would get blessings on the way. When we got home, we went off again to our different friends and family houses wishing every one Eid Mubarak, this was a chance for us to make a lot of money which people would give as we were young.
I came to England in 1963 to study. I stayed in a hostel in London, I came to do my Masters Degree in Law at Kings College. When I qualified I could not get signed articles, (this allows you to work and study with a practising lawyer), I tried everywhere, so I decided to get a job with British Rail as a wagon examiner.
My First Eid in this country was enjoyable as well as depressing. All of us in London were young and single. Most of the time we did not know when Eid was, but when we did, we had a great time.
We would all get together for an Eid meal, then in the afternoon we would go to the pictures to watch Indian films at the Marble Arch Cinema. In those early days we did not go to the Mosque to offer our prayers like we all did in Pakistan.
I got married in 1971 in Pakistan and my wife came over in 1973, this was when I moved to Birmingham. I also changed my career and got a job as Careers Officer. I started to celebrate Eid as a family, the way it was done back in Pakistan. My wife would cook special dishes for the day and also make sweet noodles like mother would. I then went off to the Mosque to offer my prayers. I would get into my new traditional clothes looking very smart and when I got home we would have family and friends come around and we would all sit and eat all the lovely food my wife had cooked.
Eid back in Pakistan and here is still almost the same, we go to the Mosque as we did then, and then sit down to eat together with the family. As the oldest out of the family, my brothers and sisters and their families would come over to my house on Eid Day to celebrate and to eat together. We had a great time. Last years Eid was very sombre because of the disaster in Pakistan with the earth quake so we had a low key one, we did not feel like celebrating with all those people dying and becoming homeless with nowhere to live.