My city, Lahore, is renowned for its extravagant celebrations and beautiful sights, both of which are steeped with culture and color. As a nation, we stand united through thick and thin, and it is this unity and cohesion which is reflected in our festivals and celebrations.
If you asked a Muslim child living in Pakistan (such as myself) to name the most eagerly anticipated, exciting, and colorful celebration of the year, they would unblinkingly blurt out, “Eid.” We are, in fact, fortunate enough to have not one but two Eids a year, but it is Eid al-Fitr which I look forward to the most.
The night before Eid is a wonderful prologue to the festivities called “Chaand Raat” (Moon Night), when the crescent signifying the day ahead is sighted. Girls adorn their hands with beautiful henna arabesques and wait patiently to achieve the perfect chestnut imprint on their hands. Last minute shopping and special bargains are offered by pop-up stalls on roadsides, selling an array of enticing, varicoloured jewellery. Frantic hands sew stubborn brooches onto magnificent, brand-new dresses, impeccably crisp and perfumed, and add other last-minute touches.
The young children scramble onto rooftops with binoculars, anxious to see if it really will be Eid tomorrow, and whoop and high-five each other when the anticipated moon finally grins down at them. They squirm in their beds, too excited by the prospects of the day ahead to sleep.
Come back next week for Part II of Zainab’s Global Beat!