Chaand Raat and Eid are just not the same in Karachi anymore

It’s safe to say that Eidul Fitr tops everyone’s list if asked which Eid they prefer, simply because it has always been the easiest way to make money without having to do anything over a span of three days.  

I would fall into the same category of those who like ‘choti Eid’ more for the same reason. These motives of looking forward to Eid seem quite shallow, but that’s the only exciting aspect for children, apart from eating unhealthy amounts of food over Eid holidays.

But as I grew up, I slowly grew to realise what Eid is all about. It’s a way of thanking Allah (SWT) for giving us enough will and patience to fast and abstain from what we’ve been forbidden in the month of Ramazan.

This Eid is marked by happiness, celebrating with family and loved ones, giving out presents and giving charity to the poor.

In Pakistan, particularly, Eid is usually celebrated starting from the night before of the actual day, Chaand Raat. It was celebrated with great fervour; streets were lit up, stalls set up and countless number of people could be seen on the streets. People would be out and about till the break of dawn, mainly shopping or eating.

What once was a great way to spend time with family and friends and have a carefree night out, has now turned out to be somewhat of a hassle, mainly due to the security issues prevalent. To begin with, nobody feels safe roaming the streets late at night, due to the fear of being mugged. Additionally, cell phones are usually blocked the entire day up into the wee hours of the morning on the behest of the government and there are countless check posts all around the city.

Even though this is a positive step for all of us, which is justified, it ends up dampening a lot of spirits, especially for the biker boys who also want to just enjoy a night out, except they’re stopped at every nook and corner for inspection. For most people, Chaand Raat is more exciting than Eid itself, but now, the kick off to the original celebrations has been toned down to a major extent.

Due to these reasons, the level of hesitancy has increased amongst us. Previous Chaand Raat, even though my family and I had quite a few last minute errands to run, we called it an early night, only because we did not want to be out on the streets late at night. I feel this fear has crept into all of us inevitably, and only time will tell when it will fade away.

But it’s a pity that the true essence of Eid, which I feel is being together with your family and loved ones, is slowly dissipating. Usually what is just three days of celebrations, turn out to be spent at home sleeping off the work exhaustion, or either taking a trip over the weekend to a foreign location, or watching some sappy dramas or Eid specials on TV.

I love all the aforementioned options, but I’d rather save them for any other regular weekend other than Eid because I’d pick these particular days to celebrate Eid with my family and relatives whom we may not meet on a regular basis. After all, the true essence of Eid revolves around meeting and greeting people, especially in our culture.

Lets not make Eid into just another holiday, or just another day, because it’s not. Our daily activities can be altered for at least three days. Eid is a time of togetherness, lets try spending it with the ones we love.

This Eid may also not be spent with as much as zeal due to the recent spate of killings and attacks that have taken place in Pakistan. Therefore, let’s all pay respects to all the ones who lost their lives at the cost of terrorism.

Lets hope and pray that next Eid and the many more to come after that, issues such as security aren’t going to pose to be a problem and hopefully, our nation will bounce back, stronger and more resilient, with a renewed love for a festival which we used to love so much.

from The Express Tribune Blog http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/28608/chaand-raat-and-eid-are-just-not-the-same-in-karachi-anymore/

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