Raising kids outside your home country always comes with its own set of challenges. The toughest of all being, keeping them close to your cultural roots. We as parents have to make a conscious effort to teach them things that were a part of our daily lives- be it the language or the festivals we celebrate back in Pakistan.
I was recently introduced by a friend to Omer Naqi, the author of the children’s book – My Eid Mubarak Story Book. Omer Naqi is a Canadian of Pakistani origin, who has been living in Qatar as an expat for the last 6 years. He is a father of three beautiful girls, a fitness enthusiast, and a banker by profession. My Eid Mubarak Storybook is his first project portraying the fun and rich traditions of Eid. This book is a wonderful effort by a father to connect, not only his kids but all others to our culture.
Talking about the traditions of Eid, takes me back to my childhood. I remember the excitement around Eid, back when I was a little girl. Everything had to be new – at least 2 sets (for Day 1 and Day 2) of new clothes, shoes, matching accessories and even a small matching purse to keep all the Eidi. We used to go on our rooftop during the last days of Ramzan, looking for the Eid moon. I clearly remember the excitement of sighting the moon and the disappointment when we didn’t see one. My mother used to tell us to say a prayer at the first sight of the Eid moon.
The moon sighting was followed by a trip to the nearby salon to get the mehndi on and I always made sure I got it done before dinner time – so my mum would feed me dinner with her hands – Always! (until the time I got married I used this trick!). I used to iron and hang my clothes, arrange my bangles, shoes and put it on a display in the dressing room – ready to adorn it the next morning.Eid day, my mum would cook sawaiyan (sweet vermicelli), and the deal was we had to be ready before my father came back from the Eid prayers to get Eidi from him! Since I was always the tiny one (the youngest and the shortest!) in the house, I had to stand on the sofa to give my dad the 3 Eid hugs all dressed up, and only then would he give me the first Eidi of the day! (Sigh, how I miss those days and giving my dad a big hug!)
In this book, the characters- Emaan, Inaaya, Noorah, and their friends share their Eid plans with the readers. This book consists of nine short stories, each touching upon the different traditions around Eid – like the sighting of the Eid moon, or getting mehndi (Henna), or the yummy food that is cooked especially for the occasion.The other thing that I really like about this book is that it just doesn’t tell the stories but it also engages the readers. I gave a copy of this book to my kids and as they were reading the book, I could see how they were enjoying the interactive bits. They were counting along & answering questions about their favorites clothes, treats, mehndi designs etc. My daughter (9) not only enjoyed reading the book to her brothers (5 and 4) but also had fun learning about the traditions. Not only do the stories teach the children about the traditions of Eid, but also teaches them to be responsible with money and doing charity. For non Muslim readers, this book is a perfect tool to learn about a different culture and teach children to be open-minded to diverse experiences in today’s modern world. This book is in fact now on the approved reading list and a key library resource at The York Region District School Board in Canada.My husband invited Omer Naqi to a do a reading of his book at the PPFQ’s Urdu Club. Although the book is in English, the purpose of the Urdu Club and this book is the same – passing down of our heritage to our kids, either through language or through traditions and festivals.It was a wonderful session, where Omer read the story to them and talked about the traditions, in Urdu 🙂 I must say, Omer Naqi is a natural storyteller and was absolutely wonderful with kids. He kept the session interactive and even the older kids enjoyed his storytelling session. My Eid Mubarak Story is available at
– Liberty Books Pakistan (Official Distributor)
– Chapters/Indigo Canada (Official Distributor)
– Available online at: Amazon, Barnes And Noble and omernaqi.com
To get your hands on the book or arrange a book reading session with Omer, connect with him
Stay tuned for something VERY exciting in collaboration with Omer Naqi for the blog! Watch this space for more!