India is a country with diverse religions, languages and culture where festivals fill the calendar. The number of muslim population in India is around 172 million. Though smaller in number when compared with the Hindu majority, India is a land of secularism. Eid celebration in India is different from those of other countries when viewed from cultural aspect. In India, muslims are scattered among non-muslims and they celebrate festivals in harmony with other communities. Eid is a festival which brings a fresh air of happiness even for non-muslims in India. Come, let’s celebrate!
Eid ul fitr
There are two occasions of Eid – first one is called Eid ul Fitr or Ramadhan, which marks the end of a month of fasting. The ninth month of Islamic calendar is called Ramadhan, by which the festival is also known in common terms. Ramadhan is also called Ramzan colloquially. During this month, muslims observe fast from dawn to dusk.
Ramadhan in many parts of India exhibits a cultural unity where non-muslims serve “ifthar” food for muslims. Mosques remain open for all, with queue of people from various religious background wait for porridge. When Eid marks the end of fast, sweets are shared with everyone irrespective of their religion. On the eve of Eid, muslims give charity called “fitra” and hence the name!
Eid ul adhha
The second festival of muslims is Eid ul Adhha which appears on the tenth month of Islamic calendar. This festival is commonly called as “Bakrid” in India. The word “Bakr” stands for goat or cow. During this festival, muslims sacrifice goat and share it with relatives and poor. This festival is also called as the “festival of sacrifice”.
When rest of the world celebrate Bakrid, people present at the Holy city of Makkah in Saudi Arabia, complete their pilgrimage. In other words, Eid ul Adhha marks the end of Islamic pilgrimage called Hajj.
As soon as the celebrations get over, the local family members prepare to welcome their pilgrims from Makkah. This festival is a more joyous occasion for the pilgrims who successfully complete their obligation.
Mosques and prayers
There are several mosques in India, both ancient as well as modern, where daily prayers and special prayers are conducted. The total number of mosques in India outnumber those of several Islamic countries. One of the famous mosques of India is the Jama masjid, New Delhi. It hosts Eid prayers where thousands of people attend. In many places of India, Eid prayers are conducted in open grounds or beaches.
Celebration of Eid commences with the sighting of crescent, as the Islamic calendar is lunar. Apart from charity, muslims engage themselves with family bonding as “get together”, feast etc are arranged. Biryani and Pulav varieties are common dishes, and types of sweets vary from state to state. On the eve of Eid, muslims wear new clothes and offer special prayers at the mosque. They hug each other, wish peace for all and refresh their contact with friends and family.
Eid instils a feeling of sharing and submission by which people learn great values of humbleness and charity. Through these two festivals, wealth flows from rich to poor. It reminds everyone that all human beings are equal, in spite of their economic status. These festivals do not encourage extravagance. On the other hand, they teach people to look down upon those who are poorer, and be content with what they have.
Eid celebration in India is different from those of other countries when viewed from cultural aspect. In India, muslims are scattered among non-muslims and they celebrate festivals in harmony with other communities.