Celebration then and now

Even though the festival of Eid is filled with a sense of joy, but a drastic change has occurred in the celebration over a period of time.
Photo: Mubashir Khan/GK
Photo: Mubashir Khan/GK

Eid ul Adha marks an important point in the revelation of Allah to Abraham (AS) when He asked him to sacrifice his son, Ishmael (AS) to test his act of submission. Abraham being the obedient servant accepted the Commandment when at the last minute; Allah intervened and replaced Ismael with a lamb instead. Almost every single ritual of Hajj, the stoning of Satan, the Tawaf of Safa and Marwa, the sacrificial lamb, they all originate from Abraham and his wife Hajira and his son  Ismael settling in Canaan, along with their trials and tribulations.

The Hajj which is connected with Eid- ul- Adha is one of the most important acts of worship that a Muslim ever experiences.  It is a lifetime experience for most of the Muslims which require extensive planning, training, and commitment.  It is an obligation upon all the Muslims who can perform it at least once in their lifetime.  Every part of the experience is based in remembrance of Abraham and his family and their faith in Allah.  The Ka'aba itself is a holy site.  The black stone which is built into part of the wall is believed to have been a dazzling white (blackened over the centuries by the sins of mankind) and was sent down to earth by Allah to show Adam and Eve where to build an altar for worship.  After the flood during the time of Noah (AS), it was believed to be lost and forgotten.  Later the angel Gabriel (AS) showed Abraham the location of the stone.  He and his son Ishmael (AS) then built the Ka'aba on the site which Adam had originally errected as an altar.  After completing it Allah told Abraham that he should circumambulate the Ka'aba (Qur'an, Al-Hajj, 22:26).

Eid al-Adha, the Festival of Sacrifice celebrated in remembrance of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son out of faith, devotion and submission to Allah and Ismail who was replaced with a lamb, has become a tradition now among the Muslims.  On the occasion of this Eid also the Muslims show solidarity and unity by gathering in the morning in Eid – Gahs  or Jamia Masjids to offer Eid prayer.  And after Prayer visit relatives and friends and eat feasts and exchange greetings.  Offer Eidi or gifts to children and do all merry making which should be done within the limits of religious contours. This Eid lasts almost for three days and sacrifices of animals are also done all these days. The Festival of Eid in human life is a typical occasion to travel to family's homes and visit and relish different foods.  Typical foods are prepared in various places / countries/regions. Practices  of celebration and traditions have a great deal of variation around the world often influenced by dominant local cultural practices.  It is also common on Eid to go to amusement parks/carnivals in many places 

Even though the festival of Eid is filled with a sense of joy, happiness, merriment, recreation, and enormous feasting but a drastic change has occurred in the celebration of the Festival   in the valley of Kashmir over a period of time. There is a great change from eighties or nineties when the festival of Eid would bring in a certain amount of satisfaction in spite of the meagre and minuscule resources people had. Before eighties and nineties when I was growing up, the routine in which we celebrated Eid was outstanding. Early in the morning the family would sit together for a round of Kehwa and in spite of the bleak amount of high class biscuits and pastries, the members would find solace in each other's company. (In these times the families hardly enjoy that kind of sitting and togetherness). Later, I would leave for Eid prayers and after offering  prayers,  would roam around watching people meeting with love and respect for each other, which is missing now. 

The sacrificial meat had a taste which nothing in this world could match but sadly saying, the taste has diminished, the flavor has descended and the tanginess has gone off.   Earlier, I used to wait anxiously for the arrival of sacrificial meat from our neighbors, but nowadays that entire craze has gone away and I rarely care for something which used to be very special, something which had a fine attraction for me. During those days people weren't rich, yet there was a sense of affinity, love, bond of kinship and satisfaction.                                                    

It is true that the time changes everything but human relationships should not change.                           

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