Eid has changed a lot since the days of old… back in the day kids used to rent VHS tapes and play video games… now we all just go to Sahel and get drunk…
1. The bikes
Everyone who was anyone would take their rusty old bike, shine that bitch up, put the most colourful tassels they could find on the handlebars, and ride that thing like you owned the street. People would stare in awe at the absolute pimpitude of your trusty steed. These days, you’re lucky if the kids even leave the house.
Many of you will have fond memories of parents, older siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and family friends showering you with cash that you would then take and immediately spend at the nearest shop on sweets and haga sa’3a that you would drink and eat until the queasiness would set in. And then you would drink and eat some more, while playing with cheap plastic toys that you bought from some seedy looking guy on the side of the road.
3. Family slaughter
Ritualistic animal slaughter could be fun for the whole family! Mama, baba, and a whole cavalcade of tants and 3amoos would gather round to watch a sheep be killed for your culinary delight, and strangely, the blood and carnage would do nothing to negatively affect your appetite. Nowadays, a general distaste for the public bloodshed seems to have spread through Cairo’s youth.
4. Eating meat at 10 am
You spent good money on that sheep, so there was no chance that you were going to wait until dinner to get a taste of that meaty goodness. There was a shockingly fast turnaround between the sheep being alive and well, and the suddenly being served up to you on a plate in the early afternoon. These days, people are too worried about their waistlines to eat meat when the sun is still out, so we wait until an acceptable time in the evening to gorge ourselves on fresh meat.
5. New clothes
Westerners may have their Christmas pyjamas, but that’s nothing on new Eid clothes. We all remember going crazy for those awesome new jeans or that badass shirt with the dragon on it, or that incredibly frilly dress in whatever bright colour tickled our fancy that year. These days, kids are more interested in getting their v-necks, or their skinny jeans, or their fake Asics trainers, and all the creativity and fun has been sucked out of an awesome new Eid outfit.
6. Travelling with family vs. travelling with friends
You remember it well; you, your parents, your siblings, and your 10,000 aunts, uncles and cousins would pile into a bus and go and spend the day at whatever beach was within 3 hours of your house. You, and every other family within a square mile of you had the same idea, so the beach was inevitably packed with hundreds of screaming kids, but you didn’t care; more people to play with. Nowadays, you go to Sahel with your friends, if you even leave the house at all.
7. Playing board games vs. video games
The first time you ever got into a fistfight with one of your cousins was probably over a game of Bank El Haz, or El Selim Wel Te3ban, or even a spirited game of Risk. Competitiveness was the name of the game, and there was no way that you were going to let Ahmed invade Madagascar. Now, kids are parked firmly in front of their TVs with a Playstation controller in their hands, and playing FIFA with some random-ass kid halfway around the wall. You’re lucky if you can so much as get them to have a passing interest in Monopoly Deal.
8. Video stores vs. online streaming
Very little lives up to the excitement of heading into the video store with your parents, and their permission to grab any battered VHS tape of your choice to rent for the night. Standing there trying to decide between Home Alone and Jurassic Park seemed at the time to be the hardest choice you’d ever have to make. That excitement has been watered down into the chore of deciding what film to stream while you wait for the Tramadol to kick in, before you eventually decide “fuck it, I’m gonna fall asleep half way through anyway” and decide to watch whatever sappy rom-com piece of bullshit Channing Tatum is currently busy shilling on late night talk shows.
9. There were no malls
Doing any kind of organised shopping was pretty difficult. You had to spend that 3eideya on something, but everything was so far apart, and getting there meant having to walk through crowds and noise and sheep blood and God only knows what else. Nowadays, there’s a place for everything, and everything is in its place. H&M, Zara, Bershka, Radio Shack, Carrefour, that shop that sells counterfeit Playstation 2 games and your dealer can all be found conveniently at your local mall. It’s sanitised, ugly, homogenous, and bad for the environment, but you push that all out of your mind because, oh look, there’s a new frozen yoghurt shop.
10. Eid films
Back in the day, the Eid films had at least some sort of tenuous link to the eponymous holiday, even if it was so much as a single line of dialogue. You would wait all year for the chance to see some Egyptian acting talent flex their stuff on the big screen. But nowadays, Eid films seem to be all about old, forgotten Sha3bi singers trying to maintain some semblance of relevance in a world that has passed them by, inevitably surrounded by drums and belly dancers. If Christmas films can actually be about Christmas, then why can the same no longer be said for Eid?