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  Volume 5 | Issue 34 | August 28, 2011 | |


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Of Festivals and Celebrations: The Youth Speak

Elita Karim

Photo : Kazi Tahsin Agaz (Apurbo)

All over the world, the spirit of Ramadan takes up a different light in each country, depending upon their respective cultures, traditions, blended with the modern ways of living. Similarly, after a hectic month of Ramadan in Bangladesh, finally the day of Eid arrives, much to the delight of the younger generation.

Why do we say that the month of Ramadan is a hectic one in Bangladesh, especially here in Dhaka? Well, as mentioned in the paragraph above, the month of Ramadan literally adapts to the ways of a particular area and presents itself in a different light altogether. The month of Ramadan in Dhaka is not only about fasting, charity, home-cooked iftaars with friends and families, but rather, it is basically about sitting in traffic for hours together, it is about shoppers blocking roadways, it is about make-shift shops suddenly springing up on footpaths and making the lives of the pedestrians a living hell, it is about sudden rise in prices of food, it is about spitting on the streets (many believe that swallowing your own saliva nullifies your fast) and of course, about stuffing yourself with all the fried food one can get their hands on at the time of iftaar.

Naturally, once all the frenzied activities are finished with, arrives the day of Eid, literally bringing with it, peace and solidarity. It is the day when the young ones find open spaces in the city, when they discover their long lost relatives and many even find the extra time to catch up on their sleep. The most fascinating element of spending Eid in Bangladesh is that people belonging to all walks of life, different religions and sects in society celebrate the day in their own ways. In fact, there are also families who travel during the Eid holidays; while some working families travel to nearby countries like Nepal, India and Malaysia to spend a quiet time with their close ones, many visit Bangladesh all the way from North America and Europe.

The Star Campus team met up with these young people and tried to bring forth some of their views on Eid and how they spend their holidays. Happy reading and Happy holidays!

Home Sweet Home!

Fauzia Sultana

Javed Miandad, a second year student of the Department of Civil Engineering, BUET shares, “I live in Sher-e-Bangla Hall. When I was about to start university, I imagined hall life to be full of fun and excitement; and indeed it is. But it is during occasions like Eid, that I miss the presence of my family the most. During classes, it is almost impossible to meet my folks because of the heavy study load. However, the situation is even worse during Eid, due to the scarcity of transportation, the unavailability of tickets and what not. But the reunion with my family is always worth the trouble and hassle it takes. I usually reach home a few days before Eid, so that I can have a few iftars with my family, and also make sure that I celebrate Chaand raat with my parar bondhu (friends in the area) whom I grew up with. Apart from meeting up with old school friends and relaxing, what I look forward to, the most, is eating all the delicious dishes my mother cooks on Eid!”

Taking a Day Off

Saad Adnan Khan

Poli Akhter is majoring in marketing at Dhaka City College and she is in her second year. Eid for Poli is a family day. “I spend the day with my parents on Eid. I love cooking for them,” she says. She is not a shopping aficionado. Instead she chooses to make her own clothes for Eid. Poli is a very sensible young girl and makes sure that she does not overspend. Her mother makes a living selling sarees to select customers door to door, while her father works in the Middle East. “I get the materials from New Market and sew my dress. I learned embroidery from my khala.” Poli and her parents often go to their village in Gazipur on Eid. Like the majority of the ordinary people in the country, Poli is concerned with the price hikes in everything. “With the increase in price of food, we had to change our food choices during Ramadan, but we are dealing with the situation.” Poli spends the day after Eid with her friends. “We go in front of our college, or go to Rifles square to hang out.” Other than that, Poli has very little time for friends since she takes private tuition classes and also helps her mother with household chores. Eid is meaningful for Poli when she spends it with her loved and close ones in the simplest of ways.

Celebrating in Diversity

Salman Rob

Brenton Clyde Quiah, a student of North South University spends Eid every year with his friends and shares his views with the Star Campus readers. “I usually spend Eid in Dhaka most of the times. However, this year, my father plans to take a longer vacation than usual, which is why we will be going to our home town in Noakhali. We have been invited to celebrate Eid with a Muslim family there. My family is very social and we like celebrating all the events from all different cultures and we enjoy them. Shemai is a must item on Eid in my home, so the festive feeling is never missed. I usually end up celebrating Eid with my friends and so do my parents. I roam around the whole day with my friends and never have I felt different. After a whole day of being out with friends, I always try to make it to the family dinners we have with other Muslim families. The dinners are something which I would regret missing out on (the food is just too good!)."

Celebrating Eid and Pooja

Naziba Basher

Prothoma Bhattacharjee Simi

Prothoma Bhattacharjee Simi, a Master's student shares with us her Eid experience throughout the years. "We usually have breakfast together with the family and our land lady also joins us. She has her first Eid meal with our family. We love the Eid breakfast with finni, chotpoti, shemai and so much more! After breakfast we go out with friends and family members to eat outside or attend an invitation. During Pooja we wear our new clothes and usually go to the temple and pray. On the last day of Pooja we play 'Shidur khela' to bid farewell to Maa Durga." Simi adds, "We usually do the Eid shopping and Pooja shopping together since most of the time, the two festivals are very close to each other where the dates are concerned. Even when they are not, we still shop for Pooja along with the Eid shopping since by the time Pooja comes around all the good collections are gone. We have always celebrated Eid and Pooja side by side and I have always enjoyed spending time with friends and family during the festivals!"

Travels and Beyond
Sameeha Suraiya

In a culture where it is all about belonging to each other, Eid speaks most for the strayed souls with lost connections. And so the birds fly back to their nests, back to their beckoning roots to be with loved ones. Eid for these people mean Home, and all the good things that it stands for. Cereal and hot dogs are left behind and replaced by shemai and the creamiest payesh. Ashik bin Mohib, a final year student of London School of Business and Finance, has been celebrating Eid abroad for the past 3 years. This time the celebrations will be on home grounds and Ashik is, to say the least, ecstatic. “I just want to feel the Eid spirit all over again. Waking up early for prayers and relishing savouries with friends and family are all part of a culture and I want to experience all that - exactly how I did three years back!”

Ashik bin Mohib
Tahmid Sayed Abtahi

On the other end of the spectrum, there are those who leave the country for a foreign taste of the celebration. The concept of flying abroad on Eid holidays does not quite sit well on the traditional Bangladeshi, but it is one that is gaining popularity. Tahmid Sayed Abtahi, a student of BUET will be spending Eid in Maryland, USA. He had also flown to Delhi and Malaysia with his family on Eid before. The reason is simple; this is the only time that everyone in the family gets a break altogether. On previous occasions, Eid was nothing like what it is now in Bangladesh, but this time around, he has high expectations. “I have cousins in Maryland, and with family around, things will be different for sure. What I am expecting? A grand time, most definitely!”


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