Eidiya in the Old Days
Eidiya is money given as a gift to children during Eid. However, eidiya used to be the target of many opportunists in the past, who usually came up with bright ideas to sell kids some sort of temporary joys and games to get their money.
These people included the owners of ‘dairefas’, composed of a wooden box hung with two ropes to swing the kids inside back and forth. Children also used to take their eidiya and spend them to get a donkey ride, and many donkey owners used to prepare their donkeys by dyeing them with henna, giving them a reddish look for Eid.
During those times, vehicles were scarce. So, many children found joy in giving away their eidiya to truck owners in return for a ride. Children also used to spend their eidiya purchasing candy, nuts and fizzy drinks from the vendors of such items, who usually found a great opportunity to sell their goods during Eids.
Another terrible way of consuming eidiya was the ‘balla al-baiza’ (swallower of paisa – the Indian coin circulated in Kuwait in the past). It was a statue with a man’s head, and after a kid pushed a coin into its mouth, the statue would produce a spark from its eyes and a sound from the mouth, and that was it. Kids usually liked what the statue did, and when they would ask about their money, the man in charge would tell them that the Balla Al-Baiza swallowed it!
– Translated by Kuwait Times from Al-Anbaa
By Dr Saleh Al-Ojairi