Eid: A time to celebrate
Where does the spirit of a holiday come from? Festivity and celebration is usually associated with things and with people one is surrounded by. But in a country like ours, which is marked by uncertain circumstances and constant upheavals, external stimuli does not provide sufficient reasons to celebrate.
In the past the end of Ramazan was usually greeted with relief and pride as the long hours of fasting were behind us. This year however, people are questioning the reasons for celebration. It is heartwarming to see citizens sharing each other’s pain and hesitating to celebrate Eid even as hundreds have died in Karachi amidst a series of target killings and abduction cases, and over a million people have been forced to flee their homes in the same month as the Indus, the Ravi and the Sutlej caused flooding in parts of Sindh and Punjab.
Nevertheless, one needs to pause and question: are despair and solemnity the ingredients one needs, to change their existing conditions? Is a lull on the streets for an event as anticipated as the celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr, going to build a stronger nation? Exhausted and weary of the dangers that Pakistanis are daily confronted with, it is more important than ever before, for us to celebrate as a community.
The customs of Eid which involve giving and receiving Eidi and meeting relatives, reinforces social bonds between those who participate in the shared experience. Hence amidst the ongoing political and economic crisis where one feels trapped in a downward spiral, the celebration of a festival becomes a much needed outlet as it reminds us of the power of relationships and communal living.
Eid is the best occasion through which Pakistanis can overlook their differences, as everyone offers Eid prayers in congregation and a general sense of charity prevails as people make donations of food and money widely in the month of Ramazan. These are valuable traditions which should be celebrated with profound respect so that they may be passed on to younger generations. Indeed it is culture which breeds a sense of solidarity and weaves us together as a nation. Thus, let this Eid and the traditions associated with it — meeting relatives, eating sheer khorma and wearing new clothes — be the energy booster we all desperately need.