Our motherland is a paradise of amazing cultures, different beliefs and numerous languages. A mix of this can be seen swirling around in Allahabad as well. With yesterday being a day which so beautifully celebrates the moon, it was a day that marks the celebration of the festival of the Islamic culture called Eid-al-Fitr. The joy of festival is appreciated with grand feast and hearty gathering around the globe.
The Eid-al-Fitr was originated by the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Certain traditions also believe that this festival was initiated in Medina after the migration of Muhammad from Mecca. According to their holy book “Quran”, the Muslims believe that God (ALLAH) has commanded them to fast until the last day of Ramadan and pay Fitra before offering Eid prayers.
Eid-al-Fitr is a feast breaking fast which is observed worldwide. This celebration signs the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. The month of Ramadan lasts 29-30 days based on the visual sighting of the Crescent Moon. The end of fasting month which is Eid-al-Fitr indicates communal aspects of the fast which expresses many of the fundamental values of Muslim community which are worship, steadfastness, patience and many more.
The Eid prayers are performed in congregation like at mosque at community. After the ‘Marib’ azaan and people breaking their day long fast with mouth watering Iftari, everyone move on to the terrace in order to have a view at the crescent moon, straining their naked eyes through the obnubilating skies. People take out their smart phones, click pictures share and update their facebook, whatsapp and instagram stories, wishing each other Eid-mubarak. A sense of cheer fills the air with warm hugs and Eid Mubarak greetings from friends and family while the firecrackers light up the skies as if it’s reflecting the joy and happiness of people’s faces.
While mothers of the household keep themselves busy cooking traditional cuisines, not forgetting the different palates that would drop in to taste the mouth watering, scrumptious dishes, they make Biryani, Pilaf and Curry, keeping in mind their vegetarian friends they also make chola puri, matar chat and Dahi Vada and how can we forget the famous milk and kimami sewai that express the sweetness and warmness of Eid.
The next morning, everyone wears their newly stitched/bought clothes while children still groggy, eagerly wait for their parents and relatives to hand them over their much awaited Eidi thanking, counting and comparing. While the men of the house go for the Eid namaaz and visit the cemetery to pay respects to the departed souls, the women prepare and decorate the house for the day long Eid celebration. The house bustles with guests, glasses of milk and dried dates (chhohara) are consumed as they’re considered sunnat, kitchen and dining area smell fresh like a spice market while the sweet and savory aroma makes your mouth water. Warm embraces are exchanged while Eid Mubarak is exclaimed in unison. Eid isn’t just a one day festival; it may even continue for as long as a week. Despite the summer heat and humidity Eid-ul-fitr doesn’t forget to bring a smile everyone’s faces. Eid-al-Fitr has a purpose where Muslim brothers gives gratitude to Allah and give alms to the poor professing their love to the needy.
With changing times, we can also see people now involving themselves in activities that a little different from the traditional way of celebration like visiting food joints. Such was the aura of celebration in Allahabad as well, teenage boys in the carefree festive mood, ladies some dressed in the brightest of colours and some, in a hijab, yet not allowing anything to hamper the joy. It is wonderful to see families and children breeze along the streets of this city: a mini India and a global pride.
– By Elishma Puthrana and Rohan Victor Simon