The Muslim festival Eid-Ul-Adha is the Festival of Pilgrimage for Muslims. It is celebrated on the 10th day of the month of Dhul Hijjah to mark the end of the Hajj or pilgrimage to Mecca. This is a festival that recollects fundamental events in Muslim history; the call of Prophet Abraham for believers to visit the Kaaba he had built.
Basically Eid-Ul-Adha signifies a festival of obedience and sacrifice through following God’s commands and the spirit of sacrifice and dedication that Muslims harbor with fellow Muslims and other human beings.
The great patriarch, Abraham was so God abiding that he was ready to immolate his beloved son Ismael at God’s command. But God then acknowledged his obedience and sent a sheep to be sacrificed instead. Today believers donate to the poor and rejoice during Eid-Ul-Adha.
Eid-Ul-Adha starts with a usual bath wherein all members of the family seek each other’s forgiveness and pardon. There is a special congregational prayer organized in the mosque to recall the spirit of Abraham’s sacrifice.
Another joyous Islamic festival is the Eid-Ul-Fitr that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan. This is the day people thank Allah for their strength and self-restraint during their fast during Ramadan. The first sight of the new moon on the first day of Shawwal, the tenth Islamic month decides the date of Eid-Ul-Fitr and the start of celebrations.
The festival is also referred to as the ‘Festival of Fast-Breaking’ where you see a great rush in markets the day before the festival. This is when people shop for gifts, clothes and sweetmeats. Eid-Ul-Fitr also signifies the payment of obligatory charity, fitrah. Being the festival of charity, the poor, ailing and orphans are remembered and are relieved by Muslims who give donations, kindness and love generously.
The morning of Eid finds all Muslims attending morning players after which everyone wears their best. Men wear white kurtas, pants, surma, perfume and a white or colored topee to complete their attire. Women wear beautiful churidhars and shalwar kameez with embroidered shawls. After eating a special Eid preparation of milk, sugar and vermicelli, the male attend special prayers at the mosque.
The mosques are packed on Eid-Ul-Fitr where rich and poor stand together in front of their Creator to cement the bond of affection and brotherhood of Islamism by hugging each other and greeting ‘Eid Mubarak’. The rest of the day is spent visiting relatives and friends to exchange greetings and gifts. Children look forward to Eid-Ul-Fitr as they receive Eidi in the form of cash or gifts from elders. Radio stations play popular ‘Qauwwali’ while the television screens progams with Muslim flavor.
No Lid celebration is complete without Biryani. Its preparation is a part of the rituals of Lid that is transmitted from mother to daughter and master to disciple. Besides Biryani, meet and chicken Kababs, kulfis, faloodas, pulaos, Shawai and other delicacies are gorged after one month of restraint. All friends and relatives participate in the joyous, and traditional celebrations of Eid-Ul-Fitr.