Eid: A Festival Of Togetherness

Festivals are enough reason to put our regular lives on hold and have a little fun, meet those whom we never get a chance to meet otherwise, count on our blessings, and be grateful for everything. And the most prominent festival for the Muslim community, Eid al-Fitr, the symbol of peace and brotherhood, is here.


In the year 2020, the world is learning new methods, simpler ways to find joy in life. Communal prayers are restricted this year due to the ongoing social distancing, extended families, relatives, and friends may not get together for the grand feast. Today is the day and we are still sitting at our homes. On one end we are held apart but the virtual world also keeps us close. Although we can’t take part in this festival as we planned, no one can stop us from talking about it, right?


So, here we are, with more about Eid and what it is like to celebrate it in lockdown.


Eid al-Fitr


The ninth month in the Islamic calendar is the month of Ramazan or Ramadan, a holy month in which Prophet Muhammed, the last prophet who is honored by the term ‘peace be upon him’ was blessed with the knowledge that was later converted in the Quran.


Muslims believe observing Roza (dawn-to-sunset fasting for the whole month) and refraining from indulging in any vices during Ramazan leads to spiritual purity. Eid symbolizes that Muslims are grateful to Allah for letting them complete the fasting and seeking forgiveness for all the past deeds. Doing good in one month of Ramadan is considered better than 1,000 months.


Chand Raat


The crescent moon that marks the end of the month’s long fasting also marks the beginning of Eid al-Fitr, ‘the festival of Breaking the Fast’ which lasts for the next 2-3 days. It is prohibited to fast on the day of Eid.


Across the globe, people come together on Eid, prayers are offered at the mosques, Eidgah is read, charities are made, from sheer khurma to biryani, all that’s delighting is cooked for the great feast, and gifts are exchanged with wishes of prosperity for each other. Chand Raat is the night when families go out for shopping together, the markets stay lighted up the entire night.


Eid Amidst Lockdown

Yesterday, we asked Tabish Khan, a Delhi based poet about what is different this year. His answer is like a steady ray of hope in this time of distances.


Tabish shares, “everyone is doing their bit to keep it as normal as possible and it starts with the efforts of my mother. We know no one will come to our homes like every year, still my mother cleaned the entire home. Every year we have 50-60 guests dining for the feast but this year we are just 10 people who share the same roof. Yet my mother is cooking each and every dish like each year. I’ve received texts, calls, video calls wishing me Chand Mubarak from all my close as well as distant friends. We'll be sharing photos of ourselves all dressed up with our home-cooked food this year.


Before Eid, everyone buys at least one set of new clothes for the big feast. Instead of feeling low about all the shops being closed and unable to buy new clothes, we have washed and ironed our newest attires for Eid. Rest who needs new attire when we have ittra (perfume) that’s always pleasing to senses.


This year, no one from our society will be going out for the prayers or shopping, still, we all have cleaned our terraces and balconies so that we all can read the morning namaz from our places, knowing our neighbors are with us.


Eid greetings are one of the most unique moments of Eid, wherein we hug each other thrice, shake hands, and then wish ‘Eid Mubarak.’ This year, we will wish each other from our terraces with the safe distance maintained. The lack of human touch will disappoint a little, as long as it is for everyone’s good, it can be ignored. When thousands of souls will pray for the best, the world will surely see some good days ahead.


On behalf of my family, only I’ll go out, not to mention I’ll use mask and follow social distancing. I’ll go to do my part in Zakat al-Fitr, a tradition of charity where we share necessary food items with the poor and those who are in need of it at this time. So, yes we are all very positive as well as cautious about Eid.”


Must-Visit Places For Photographers On Eid


India, the land of diverse cultures witness Eid’s celebration in every city and corner. Not to say, India is full of iconic religious monuments that are not only an example of the ultimate architecture of the ages in which they were built but also are of great significance for every believer and follower of Islam. These historic and religious spots draw not only Muslims but everyone who wishes to participate in the festival of togetherness. For photographers, who are driven to capture the stories through their cameras, Eid has always been a golden opportunity. Not only from the aspect of pictures but when one stands in the middle of this grand celebration, more meaning is added to every shot that’s taken.


Jama Masjid, Delhi


Located in the heart of Purani Dilli (Delhi 6), Jama Masjid is one of the most praised historic monuments of Delhi. Jama Masjid is famous in the country for its vibrant Eid celebrations. Its courtyard can accommodate more than 25,000 devotees! People gather from all parts of Delhi to witness the auspicious moment when thousands of men offer namaz in Jama Masjid, the same view is observed on Jumma Namaz. All the narrow lanes of Chandni Chowk brighten up with the people in new attires, in the mood of enjoying this day with everyone they love, waiting in long queues in front of the old and famous shops to grab a bite of the mouthwatering mutton curry. Devotion, celebration, food, and culture all lines up together in Chandni Chowk on the occasion of Eid.


Note: Streets surrounding the Nizamuddin Dargah are another place where the vibes of Eid are spread in the air.


Char Minar, Hyderabad


The global icon, Charminar monument in Hyderabad becomes the center of all Eid festivities of the area. While Charminar is one of the most recognized monuments in India, the eateries around it running successfully from ages are among the best places to have Biriyani in India. On Eid, people from all corners of India travel to Hyderabad for its amazing biriyani.


Haji Ali Dargah, Mumbai


Haji Ali Dargah is perched on the piles of rocks on the shores of the Arabian sea. Devotees from all across the world travel to this renowned architecture to seek blessings. Haji Ali Dargah has so much significance and religious value in Islam that it is one place that’s never short on devotees. On Eid, it can take hours before one can finally enter but as they say, the more the wait the sweeter the result.


Hazratbal Mosque, Srinagar


The land of beauty and peace, Srinagar is also the city of the Hazratbal Mosque, which is situated on the banks of Dal Lake. Hazratbal Mosque is close to the hearts of Muslims and Eid is the day when it is decorated along with the whole city. Srinagar has the same religious environment around but the scenic beauty of this place makes it stand out like no other.


Lucknow


The city of nawabs and kebabs, Lucknow is another name on the list that cannot be skipped. The city has not one, not two but many places where Eid is celebrated with the same fervor. Bada Imambara is full of hundreds of families who reach there to feel the vibes of Eid. Victoria Street, Aminabad and Hazratganj are the places where Rozedars (people who follow Rozas) reach to have “Iftari” in the grand feast.


Other places to be are Taj-ul Masajid, Bhopal (also known as Crown Among Mosques), Dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, Ajmer, Nakhoda Mosque, Kolkata. Eid has different colors in every city but the dedication of the devotees remains the same everywhere. So, you just need to head to your nearest known sight to capture some of the most heartwarming photos of this day.


We hope that next year Eid will be again celebrated with the same old enthusiasm as always.


Watch the special Eid video created by SPI's Cinematography team here.


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