The Celebration Begins!
What is interesting about the 29th day of Ramadan is that people are confused about Eid being on the next day or not. Right after iftaar, we fix our eager eyes on the television screen, awaiting the announcement-- “Shawwal masher chaand dekha geche. Kal pobitro Eid-ul-Fitr. Eid Mubarak” (The moon has been sighted. It will be Eid tomorrow.) Instantly the ambience gets hyped up-- with screams of joy, the cracklings of firecrackers and of course, the tunes of the famous song “Ramjaner oi rojar sheshe elo khushir Eid”, and our dilemma and fatigue change to a festive mood. Chaand Raat is the night of celebration, with the moon sighted, signaling that the next day is Eid. City streets have a celebratory look, and brightly decorated malls and restaurants remain open all night.
Young guys get out on the streets to greet their friends and reconfirm their plans for the next day, while girls at homehuddle up and decorate their hands with mehendi (henna) and try and decide which of the many dresses to wear first and which one to wear later.
But isn't Chaand Raat also the night for last minute shopping? It is very common, especially amongst the boys, to leave a part of their shopping for Chaand Raat. Either it's panjabi or simply a belt, guys have to find a reason to get out of their crib and feel the Chaand Raat vibe out in the city. “Chaand Raat itself is reason enough for me to get out and celebrate. I usually hang out on Chaand Raat with my friends and cousins, at malls or simply chitchatting at a tea stall,” says Saquibuz Zaman, a 3rd year student of the Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, BUET.
Chaand Raat is probably the only time of the year when girls can stay out longer than usual, without having to worry about parents and staying out after dark. Girls go to the beauty salons, to apply mehendi or get a haircut, preparing themselves to look their very best for Eid. The young men are not left far behind in this department either. Nowadays a lot of boys get a haircut, a shave and some even go to the extent of getting a facial to keep their skins glowing! There are also those who go out on long drives with their families on Chaand Raat, to see the beautifully lit city, and grab a cup of coffee on their way back home. Mahfuza, a student at the Department of Business and Administration, Stamford University shares, “Of course, we apply mehendi, cook shemai, or play loud music and have fun, but Chaand Raat in a suburban area like Latifpur, is a tad different from the cities. We are an integrated family; after preparing everything for Eid day, all my cousins, uncles, and aunts get together on the porch and we have a gaaner ashor all night. Chaand Raat for us is special because it is one of those rare times of the year when the entire family gets together, enjoying each other's company and sharing happiness.”
Chaand Raat is the festival that brings a diverse community, like ours, together, where the rich and the poor, the old and the young, the Muslims and the non-Muslims share their joys, happiness and friendship. While parents spend time relaxing after the hectic month-long sehri-iftaar routine, the little ones wonder about how much eidi (money that the older people give to the younger ones on the occasion of Eid) they would be able to collect by the end of the day. Chaand Raat may be the end of feasting on boro baaper beta for the foodies or yet another reason to shop for the shopaholics, but for all, it surely signifies the start of the celebration of Eid -- the day that we all wait for throughout the year!