Wed, 18 May 2022

© Provided by Xinhua

In Bangladesh and Pakistan, people are celebrating Eid al-Fitr which marks the ending of the month-long fasting in the holy month of Ramadan. After two years of pandemic, celebrations are back to normal, with many prayers coming to masjids for worship and bazaars bustling with consumers.

by Naim-Ul-Karim, Raheela Nazir

DHAKA/ISLAMABAD, May 4 (Xinhua) -- Eid al-Fitr, the largest Muslim festival that marks the ending of the month-long fasting in the holy month of Ramadan, is a time for immense joy and happiness for Muslims in Bangladesh and across the world.

After a two-year COVID-19 hiatus, the largest festival is back in full swing in Bangladesh with Muslims shaking hands and hugging each other thrice as usual after Eid prayers this time.

With the infection rate subsiding largely and new deaths dropping, Bangladesh is celebrating this Eid like the regular year and the air is filled with festivities.

Muslims across the country flocked to open places and masjids for offering special Eid prayers on Tuesday morning.

Long lines of worshippers were seen since Eid day morning in front of Dhaka's many masjids, including the Baitul Mukarram National Mosque.

© Provided by Xinhua

Also, the main Eid congregation in the capital was held at the national Eidgah (an open ground for Eid prayers) after two years.

"Eid this year is quite normal. It's entirely different to those Eids in the last two years," said Abdur Rahim on the way back from the national Eid congregation venue with his family members including children, holding colorful balloons.

"This time we're again going to visit houses of relatives and friends waiting for us with special dishes," he said while seeking his car parked far away from the congregation way.

Businesses elsewhere in the city said they were feeling the usual Eid boom this year.

"We did business as usual this season. We feel that this is truly Eid time," said Ahsan Miah, a shopkeeper who kept his outlet open even on Eid day in Eastern Dhaka's Banasree area.

On the street in front of the shop near the main masjid of Banasree area, hawkers are seen roaming as usual. Children with family members attended the Eid prayers and gathered around the hawkers to buy balloons, toys and candies.

© Provided by Xinhua

"There is an excellent atmosphere of joy and happiness of Eid this time. We don't feel like we're in an adverse situation like past years," Masud Ahmad said while buying balloons for his kids.

He said many of his kith and kin have gone home to join the Eid festival celebration with their families in villages after the annual exodus had been stalled for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a post on his Facebook page, Bangladeshi Posts and Telecommunication Minister Mustafa Jabbar on Saturday said the number of mobile SIM card users that left Dhaka in five days till May 1 has crossed the 10-million mark.

While millions of people were on the move at bus terminals, train stations and river ports, traveler Tumpa Moni said "being able to go home in this crowd is a great joy for me."

Many were unable to go home in the last two years due to the pandemic, Moni said.

TV channels telecasting special programs showed gorgeous Eid celebrations in places outside the capital city.

The country's largest Eid congregation was reportedly held widely at Sholakia in Kishoreganj district, some 117 km northeast of Dhaka, with hundreds of thousands of participants offering prayers. Worshippers there are seen shaking hands and doing the customary hugging after the prayers.

© Provided by Xinhua

With a significant decline in the number of COVID-19 cases and restrictions being relaxed in Pakistan recently, there is a sense of optimism and normalcy in the country as Muslims gear up to celebrate the Eid al-Fitr festival, which is marked by mass social gatherings, binge shopping, and splendid feasts.

In Islamic countries, Eid al-Fitr marks the end of the Islamic holy fasting month of Ramadan every year. The festival falls on Tuesday this year in Pakistan, with the government having announced four-day holidays for its celebration.

On Tuesday, people gathered in mosques and open-air places across the South Asian country to kick off their celebrations with special congregational prayers in the morning, which were followed by feasts and fun-filled activities.

© Provided by Xinhua

Muhammad Ali was on top of the world as he awaited the arrival of his train at a bustling railway station in eastern Rawalpindi district. He was paying the first visit to his hometown in more than two years to celebrate Eid with his loved ones.

"I am so ecstatic. I can't express how happy I am to be able to see my parents after such a long time because the government recently lifted all COVID-19 related restrictions after successfully containing the deadly virus, and vaccinating more than 80 percent of the eligible population," Ali, a government employee, told Xinhua.

He said his family will fully enjoy the joyous occasion of Eid.

"The hard time seems to be over, at least for now. The traditional ways of celebrating the big festivals in the country are coming back ... so I am looking forward to spending my Eid holidays with my family and friends, rather than worrying much about the health issues that have arisen as a result of COVID-19," Ali said.

Hina Pervaiz, a resident of the federal capital Islamabad, told Xinhua that the Eid occasion has become even more joyous this year as social activities resumed after being interrupted due to the pandemic.

Pervaiz said that she was unable to go outside and enjoy the ultimate delight of shopping and roaming around the decorated markets and streets on the special day because of the COVID-19 curbs in place previously.

© Provided by Xinhua

"I remember I was not so satisfied when I ordered a new dress online for Eid last year since it was not precisely what I wanted. For me, the celebration isn't complete until I go to malls with my children and choose and try things on my own," she said while browsing dresses and shoes in a well-known brand store in Islamabad.

"It's a joyous occasion ... It's a blessing that we're able to enjoy the event in a safe environment ensured by our government," she added.

Apart from celebrating the festival and splurging, people in Pakistan maintain a philanthropic spirit on Eid al-Fitr, with many organizations and individuals participating in humanitarian activities.

Hassan Shahid, an Islamabad-based philanthropist who runs a charity organization, said that it is the responsibility of the people, especially affluent ones to take care of weaker sections of the society.

"On this Eid, our organization has distributed over 10,000 Eid special packages containing essential food items and gifts to the people in need ... Charity is a noble cause and the genuine spirit of Eid rests in empathy and sense of sharing with the unprivileged," Shahid told Xinhua.

More Beijing News

Access More

Sign up for Beijing News

a daily newsletter full of things to discuss over drinks.and the great thing is that it's on the house!