From Eidi to Education: Cash Helps Kids Learn Money Management
As families around the world celebrate Eid, children will be looking forward to receiving gift money. In addition to being an exciting part of the festivities, this cash is also a valuable step on the road to financial education as children learn about the merits of spending versus saving.
Eid money is known by many different names, but common ones are Eidiyah, which translates to ‘Eid gifts’, and the shorter Eidi. Bloom Money cites the Fatimid Caliphate of the 10th century AD as a potential origin for Eidi, as caliphs would give presents—including cash—to older and younger members of society to mark the first day of Eid. While there is no set amount to give, many families vary what they give depending on the child’s age, with very young children receiving less.
While Eid celebrations are as varied as the countries observing them, many involve some form of Eidi. In Saudi Arabia and Sudan, children dressed in their best, newest clothes run between relatives asking for chocolate and money. Older Egyptian family members give money to the younger ones that is often spent specifically on activities happening throughout Eid. In Turkey and Zanzibar, many children go door to door around their neighbourhoods to be awarded sweets and a few coins from each house.
As seen with Chinese New Year, people like to give pristine cash (sometimes in green envelopes, the counterpart of China’s red envelopes). The State Bank of Pakistan, for example, often issues fresh banknotes ahead of Eid celebrations.
However it is done, the giving of Eidi is also a thoughtful act of giving, introducing young people to the importance of zakat (charity), which is one of the five pillars of Islam. Furthermore, many parents view it as a fun opportunity for children to learn about money. ALFA and Friends—a provider of pre-school STEM education resources—recommends parents let small children manage their own Eid money, encouraging them to keep it in a safe place and spend it as they want to, ‘teaching them to be responsible and accountable for their own money’. Counting and keeping track of the money is also an enjoyable way to reinforce basic mathematics.