Richard Marx - 'Hazard'
1993 March. 7 months after moving to Dubai and my first experience of the festival which ends the fasting month of Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr. I expected something quite solemn to mark the occasion. I knew that the sighting of the moon was important to the calling of Eid and that there was no fixed day. However, I knew very little other than this - remember that this was pre-internet days, so I couldn't just Google it!
As the days neared the potential start of Eid, the feeling of excitement was tangible in the local population and expat Muslims alike. The excitement even rubbed off onto the non-Muslim population and I was looking forward to experiencing my first Eid...and the short holiday that accompanied it.
Was it a solemn event? Definitely not! So what do I remember from my first Eid?
I found out that when it was cloudy, aeroplanes were sent to fly above the clouds to spot the new moon. The days prior to this one had been a disappointment. I also discovered that instead of Eid al-Fitr being a solemn event, it turned Dubai into a party city. Families, including children, stayed up very late and socialised outside in the streets. Eating featured on a grand scale.
My experience of Eid was being telephoned by a Muslim colleague when Eid was called at 10.30pm and told to get ready to go out. Why Richard Marx's Hazard? When Hassan picked me up along with a couple of my friends this was the song that was blaring out of the tape deck in his 4-wheel drive. He then whisked us away to the Lodge where we danced the night away and partook of one or two very non-local drinks!
Hearing Richard Marx's Hazard (a rare occasion, now) never fails to take me back to this moment when (another) one of my pre-conceived ideas about living in a Muslim country was transformed. I lived in Dubai from 1992 until 2001 and experienced many Eids after this one. However, none was quite the same.
Very happy days!