Graithing the Bliss!
Eid-ul-Fitr is one of the most awaited, illustrious, venerable, consecrated festival which is celebrated globally. Muslims all around the world cheer this day with vivaciousness, fraternity, ebullience and with greetings of pleasantries, sodality and benefaction. The day of Eid-ul-Fitr is marked on the first day of Islamic lunar calendar Shawwal which comes just after the end of most considered holy month of Ramadan and its month long fasting. The festival is celebrated with some wajibaats (mandatory commandments to be followed by a believer) along with some traditions which varies from region to region. Preparations for Eid-ul-Fitr commence as early as the beginning of Ramadan that is one month before the occasion and the markets start to bloom at their peaks with passing of each day. People start configuring and setting-up things for themselves, their families, relatives and friends as the day approaches the blessed day of Eid. The fest serves as a peculiar event of treat to children as they receive Eidi (gifts, particularly money) from their elders along with sweets, specially prepared delicacies, new cloths and a number of things accounting for their merriment and gaiety.
Eid-ul-Fitr is a combination of two arabic words with ‘Eid’ meaning ‘festivity’ or ‘celebration’ and ‘Fitr’ meaning ‘to break the fast’ and thus the festival is also termed as Fast-breaking Eid or The Feast of Fasting. The day of Eid is considered as a rewarding day for the believers who were successful in consummating their fast throughout the holy month of Ramadan. The enactment of fasting includes refraining oneself from food, water and more importantly from the deeds which are inacceptable, wretched, spurious and vicious in front of the Almighty. It is believed that fasting helps a person in purifying himself by getting over his vices and becoming more sympathetic, magnanimous and generous person to the ones who are less fortunate to have food and to those who are spending their lives without comfort, ease and contentment. According to some beliefs, it is said that the Holy Quran was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed (P.B.U.H) in the last ten days of Ramadan and this further increases the sanctity of Eid-ul-Fitr and its prominence.
After cleansing the soul, washing away sins, seeking forgiveness for the past committed sins and self-controlling for a period of thirty days in Ramadan, Eid-ul-Fitr is considered as the new beginning where one celebrates his victory of succeeding and subduing his vicious desires. Eid-ul-Fitr is a day where one pledges to perform deeds which are benevolent, honest, just and virtuous all his life. The day of Eid commences with everyone wearing new cloths and visiting their nearby Eidgahs, (Grand Mosques and their fairs) where a number of people gathers to offer the Eid-ul-Fitr Namaaz (Eid prayers) and remembering the pledges that they have made and seek forgiveness for their sins. After performing the prayers and remembering the Lord, people greet and meet saying ‘Eid Mubarak’ and embracing each other. Special delicacies comprising snacks, sweets and other meal are being prepared to serve the incoming guests on the occasion. The process of visiting, greeting and meeting is continued till three days, with children overjoying the delight and charm of the feast and their increasing countless Eidi. Many often visit the graveyards where their ancestors are buried, a custom known as ‘Ziyarat-al-Qubur’, to pay homage and remember them in the lights of Eid blessings.
A number of traditions are followed to celebrate Eid around the world with each tradition showing its unique colors and glimpse of one ancestor and their region. Apart from these socializing customs there are certain wajibaats (mandatory commandments to be followed by a believer) which has remained constant and persistent irrespective of the region and the century. The act of charity called ‘Fitra’ or ‘Zakaat-al-Fitr’is one such wajibaat which on the auspicious day of Eid-ul-Fitr is obligatory for all the muslims to deliver if their savings exceed or equals ‘Nisab’ (savings pertaining to basic needs). Fitra is a liable charity for every muslim, male or female, adult or minor which is required to be made at the end of Ramadan or latest by the Eid-ul-Fitr Namaaz (Eid prayers) which is another wajibaat of the occasion. If the several members of the family do not have wealth equal to or more than the Nisab, the head of the family can also pay on their behalf in the form of money, cloths, food etc to the poor.
Lucknow, The City of Nawabs, is gifted and bestowed with high enriched multi-cultures and customs from its existence. Eid-ul-Fitr is one such occasion which has a rich cultural history and is being celebrated here with ebullience and fraternity from centuries. With time the sovereignty of every ruler in Awadh (Now called Lucknow)changed but what remained persistent was building a Grand Mosque or Imambada (Shrine with a mosque) each time, as the new ruler replaced the previous one. All these Imambadas and Grand Mosques of Lucknow have remained the alluring-centres of Lucknow since then, and the charisma of these places can been seen on the propitious day of Eid-ul-Fitr when a number of people from the city gather to offer their Eid prayers. Teele wali Masjid built by Sultan Ali, Governor of Lucknow in 1658-1707, Asafi Masjid built by Asaf-ud-Daulah in 1784, Tehsin ki Masjid built by Tehsin Ali Khan in 1788-1794, Shah Najaf Imambada built by Ghazi-ud-din-Haider, last Nawab Wazir in 1817, Yellow sand-stoned Jama Masjid built by Sultan Ahmed Shah in 1843, Imambada Sibtainabad built by Nawab Wajid Ali Shah in 1847 are one of the very few example of past glories of Lucknow whose resplendency is reflected on the day of Eid-ul-Fitr.
The custom of fostering brotherhood and sodality lies in the very heart of Lucknow and with the arrival of Eid-ul-Fitr, interactions among each other is far more boosted to extol the Lucknow’s very own taste of communal harmony. Visiting, convocating, meeting and greeting each other with gifts, pleasantries, sweets and Lucknow’s favoured extravaganza delicacies of ‘Sewaiya’ and ‘Shahi-Tukda’ do their part of justice in implicating, encompassing and overwhelming the occasion. The hustle and bustle in the markets of Old Lucknow grabs pace on the ‘Chaand Raat’ when a new moon is sighted on the last day of Ramadan. The ChaandRaat is the indication of the arrival of Eid-ul-Fitr and this is the time when the night of Lucknow turns into day and shops all across the city specially Nakhas, Aminabad, Akbarigate, Maulviganj, Hazratganj, Yahiyaganj, Rakabganj, Bajaza, Aliganj, Nishatganj, Mahanagar and Chowk glooms in full swing. The streets and roads gets filled with buzzing voices and excitement of people buying things for their family, relatives, friends and dear ones to enjoy the delight, gladness and gratification of the coming feast. Be it be food items like Sewai, seasonal fruits: mangoes, bananas, dates and dry fruits or the beautiful dresses with Lucknow’s own chikan work, kurta-pajama, ladies suits, or glittering bangles and jewelleries, none is left unseen or untouched. Eid-ul-Fitr is not
just the festival, it’s a blessing that warms heart with love and care by reducing differences between the rich and the poor, friends and the enemies, far and the close, with all embracing each other and saying Eid Mubarak!
Ajeeb mauhol hai baazaro ka,
boo-e-Khush aati hai…
Roshanhai aaftaab ,
shaano-shauqat nazar aati hai…
Kyu na ho mehfil janaab,
shaher-e-Lucknow hai ye…!
Raunako ka chiragha hai,
lagta hai Eid qareeb aati hai…!!
Abbas Agha Jafri
Writer is an engineering graduate, the writer is passionate about the city and its culture.
(Published in The Lucknow Observer, Volume 3 Issue 4,July 2016)