Happy Eid (Memories from Naguib Mahfouz)

The following passage is from Naguib Mahfouz’s Naguib Mahfouz at Sidi Gaber: Reflections of a Nobel Laureate, 1994-2001. The section is titled, as above, “Happy Eid.”

Nobody feels the joy of the Eid as much as children, and when we were children, we could hardly contain our excitement while waiting for it: pocket money, new outfits, new shoes. We would put on these valuable garments and go out to show them off to the other children of the neighborhood.

We would also show off our mothers’ kahk (the Eid confection par excellence), all the different varieties, so that instead of one helping, each of us would get five or six. The last time I ate kahk was a long time ago. When I became diabetic I stopped eating sweets, thought I had a liking for them.

That is the way of life. You give up your pleasures one by one until there is nothing left, then you know it is time to go.