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As a Muslim country, Pakistan celebrates two Eids of three days each, called Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha. While Eid-ul-Adha is focused on sacrificing in remembrance of the same act carried out by our Prophet, Eid-ul-Fitr is dedicated to celebrating the end of our Holy month of Ramadan with acts of kindness and charity, which is what makes the aura surrounding the festival so welcoming and cheerful.

 

Before the day of Eid, the chaand raat calls for shopping and preparing for Eid. All the shops are filled to their full capacity as they attract customers with their sales, and stalls of bangles and henna are set-up outside. Henna is a huge part of Eid for every girl, as the glamorous designs really add to the experience. Apart from this, it is a pleasure to witness all the lights that are put up in the country to celebrate Eid, so even if you’re fully prepared for Eid it’s a fun activity to go on a long drive with your family or friends!

 

 

It is a tradition to start the day early, with a sweet breakfast, so we all indulge in eating our favourite cultural sweet dishes such as vermicelli, kheer (a type of pudding made with rice, milk and sugar), ras malai, gulab jaman, shahi tukray (translation: “Royal Pieces” as it was invented by the Mughals in Pakistan).

After this, it’s time to change into Eid outfits. Since Eid holds both cultural and religious values for us, everyone resorts to wearing shalwar kameez (eastern clothing). Girls pair their fancy Eid dresses with traditional jewellery such as jhumkas and bangles, and match khussa (handcrafted footwear) or sandals to complete the look. On the other hand, boys wear Peshawari chappal (traditional sandals) on the special occasion, and then it’s time to either prepare to have guests over or to go meet them!

 

Eid is a day filled with togetherness and familial love, which is why it is essential to not just meet your immediate family, but rather anyone with whom you share joyful moments. On the journey to someone’s house, people stop to buy cakes, pastries, or other baked items such as pizzas as it is customary to not show up empty-handed, especially on Eid. The roads are also overflowing with the lesser fortunate trying to sell goods like gajra (a flower garland) or simply to collect Eidi. The act of giving and receiving Eidi is what makes every Eid so memorable for all. It is any amount of money that you give to your younger relatives, children, and the poor out of love. It symbolizes the generosity prevalent in the country after the month of fasting, which serves to allow the rich to empathize with the poor. Giving Eidi instead of gifts like on Christmas allows the two festivals to be different and unique in their own way, while enabling receivers of Eidi to spend it or save it as they deem best for themselves. As a child, I preferred to spend a proportion of my Eidi on toys, but now I like to treat myself to an extravagant meal.

In order to host these family gatherings, a versatile range of dishes is prepared, ranging from pasta to chicken karahi, beef kebabs, biryani, naan and chicken tikka. These are followed by traditional sweet dishes, Eidi and loads of laughter as everyone appreciates the company of their loved ones and leaves their worries behind.

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