Educationist Sadullah Bayazit narrated the Eid traditions and the significance of exchanging Eid greetings in Pakistan, where he lived for many years.
Having arrived after the other two holy months Rajab and Sha’ban, Ramadan spells a grand reunion as it is adjourned until the next year. This is why, the joy of the Eid is sheer thrill in Pakistan. Notwithstanding distances, everyone who has the opportunity looks forward to meeting their families during the Eid al-Fitr or the Eid al-Adha. People weigh their Eid plans in advance and the bargains for getting early workplace leaves continue for days. Much accustomed to such requests, employers at times prefer to allow their employees without too much pressure. As if they mean to say, “Instead of keeping them here and their minds with their families there, they’d rather go and meet their families without delay.”
Those who live and work abroad always try to synchronise their annual leaves in a way to include the Eid days as well. As Turks living in Pakistan, we would sometimes be regarded a little out of place in the way we stayed there on every Eid and did not travel to Turkey to meet and greet our families. According to the Pakistani culture, Eid days bear great significance and family members must always come together under one roof. However, we neither had so many long leaves nor abundant travel budgets; it was almost impossible for us to travel to Turkey twice a year for family visits. It was always our first choice to synchronise our annual leaves with the summer break to cool ourselves away from the scorching heat.
Eid prayers in large parks and squares
Shopping spree starts days before the Eid al-Fitr as everyone rushes to buy or order bespoke new clothes. When we visited the tailors for quick dress modifications even months before the Eid, they used to decline us saying, “We are packed up until the Eid!” Everyone from 7 to 77 participates in the Eid celebrations with their new clothes. People organize functions and large families schedule elaborate reunions. Non-family visitors are requested to visit after those reunion programs.
Since the mosque indoors cannot accommodate large congregations for the Eid prayers, some central parks and squares are adapted for this purpose. In that way, the Eid prayers offered in large squares with dense congregations are occasions of piety and enthusiasm. People rise their hands in combined prayers and exchange Eid greetings with one another. They would also not forget about us; on every Eid, people who are known or unknown to us would come and greet us with love and compassion.
Freshly-minted coins and crisp banknotes for Eid
Everyone beams with smiles and radiate happiness in their brand-new clothes. The family elders keep newly minted coins and banknotes in their purses and wallets for the minors who visit and greet them on the Eid. In a way to support this beautiful tradition, the State Bank of Pakistan puts crisp banknotes and freshly-minted coins into circulation through banks every year before the Eid. Children make the best of this tradition and compete for collecting the highest amount of ‘Eidi’ i.e., Eid gifts and money. Everyone greets everyone everywhere: in the market, in the grocery store or on the street. They keep the Eid alive as a valuable tradition and celebrate it in a beautiful manner.
During the scorching heat of the summers, people rush to the cool of the hill stations or plains on the outskirts of tall mountains. At times, those countryside spots become more crowded than some towns and cities. In 2016, I took my wife and children to a plain resort to have a pleasant stay there during the last days of the Ramadan and throughout the Eid. We started our return journey on the third day of the Eid. We thought we should set off around 4:00 a.m. in the cool before the sunrise and cover some distance before it got hotter. We did so but, just as we left the town, we got caught in a gridlock. We covered a distance of mere 30 kilometres in 5 hours!
Jeevai Pakistan! With your months of Ramadan, tarawih prayers, Eids, shabinas (holy nights), March 23 Resolution Day, August 14 Independence Day, and many other days of national and religious importance of yours, Jeevai… Thanks to all your merits and features, you never escape our minds and hearts …