Mumbai gears up for Eid

As the holy month of Ramzan ends, Mumbai Muslims are happy to welcome Eid, a festival of peace and prayers

Mumbai's Mohammad Ali Road during Ramzan. (Getty Images)
Mumbai's Mohammad Ali Road during Ramzan. (Getty Images)

Santoshee Gulabkali Mishra

As the sun sets on the last day of the Islamic holy month of Ramzan on Friday, Mumbai gears up to celebrate Eid-ul-fitr.

Post-pandemic effects had diluted the mood of Eid even last year, but certainly not quelled the prayers. Despite the scorching heat during the last leg of Ramzan this year, Friday prayers—the jumma namaaz—saw several key spaces in the city fill up with a festive air today.

This last evening gathering in Ramzan saw Mohammad Ali Road packed with celebrants— and not only Muslims, as foodies congregated to get their fill of the scrumptious specials that will now be available only next year.

"In India, Eid 2023 will be celebrated on April 22, while April 21 marks Chand Raat in the country today,” said Shahid Shaikh, a businessman from Nagpada. Eid-ul-fitr and Eid-ul-Azha (Bakri Eid) are the two main festivals the Quran specifies. The word fitr literally means break, referring to the breaking of the commitment to fast through the holy month of Ramzan. Chand Raat refers to the first sighting of the Shawwal crescent moon to mark the beginning of the next lunar month.

Shaikh spoke of the immense faith his ailing mother (82 years old) has in the prayers offered during the holy month of Ramzan. "Due to failing health, doctors have asked my mother to refrain from fasting," he said, "However, she has observed Ramzan from her childhood, so she continued." Following in her footsteps, Shaikh notes the Ramzan prayers are for everyone’s well-being. "The sehri [the pre-dawn meal] and iftar [evening fast-breaking] are meaningless if your neighbour remains hungry. Therefore, this festival not only cleanses the bodies but the minds of Muslims as well," he said.

Nadeem Ansari, another rozadar (one who fasts during Ramzan), said, "[The] Almighty wants Muslims to celebrate Eid as part of [the] rewards for abstaining from food and water and many other things allowed in other months. After the hardship for a month, Eid is [for us] to enjoy with loved ones." 

Ansari too made note of Allah's command to include the poor and needy in the celebrations, which is why Muslims offer donations or zakat before offering Eid prayer.

Eid is thus a celebration marked by hosting receptions, visiting relatives, greeting friends, exchanging gifts, wearing new clothes—and also visiting the graves of relatives. And yes, before that, shopping for gifts and honouring the last fasts with the ancestral recipes.

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