On the last night of Ramadan, my brother and I would anxiously wait for Eid, when we would get to wear our new clothes lying on our beds’ footboards — a tradition that comes from the prophetic Sunnah — and receive a few extra pounds of pocket money (eideya) in our little hands. The soundtrack to all of these happy memories was the beautiful voice of Om Kalthoum, singing “Ya Leilat al-Eid” (Oh, night of Eid).
As a child, I could not really understand the lyrics, but as soon as I heard the song playing on the radio or TV, I knew we were starting the Eid al-Fitr celebrations after the month of fasting.
“Ya Leilat al-Eid” is a 72-year-old song. It was composed by Riad al-Sonbaty and the lyrics were by Ahmed Rami, the two most famous artists who worked with Om Kalthoum.
Until today, the song feels like Om Kalthoum’s eideya to Muslims around the world. It remains one of the most important features of the annual celebrations.