Composition : Eid Festival

Eid Festival

↬ The Two Main Religious Festivals of the Muslims

↬ The Celebration of Eids

↬ The Celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr & Eid-ul-Azha

↬ The Main Religious Festivals of the Muslim Ummah

The two main religious festivals of the Muslims of Bangladesh are Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Azha. Eid-ul-Fitr is observed after the end of Ramadan. The social meaning of Eid is a joyful festival, while it's etymological (বুৎপত্তিসংক্রান্ত) meaning denotes returning time and again. Like all other social festivals, Eid returns every year. So is the case with Eid-ul-Azha. The same can be said of Hajj.

In the celebration of these two festivals in the early period, there was an influence of the folk belief of the peasants. Later on, a few religious manners and customs were added. In the colonial period, these two festivals were not celebrated with the same importance as it is being done now. The reason was the absence of government patronage, poverty of the people and their ignorance about religion.

The joy and pomp with which Eid was celebrated during the Mughal period were confined to the immigrant highly placed and rich Muslims. The general body of people reminded aloof from it. However, the ruins of Shahi Eidgahs in different parts of Bangladesh bear testimony to fact that the Mughals accorded importance of Eid.

By the end of the nineteenth century, a new ingredient, viz., folk-fair, was added as an accompanying source of pleasure during Eid. This trend still continues and now at least twelve fairs are held on the occasion of Eid in different regions of Bangladesh. An account of the Eid celebration by the Bengal Muslims during the last hundred years reveals that one of the main features of the Eid festival was the arrangement of special food and drink. In the mofussil and rural areas, the food would include korma, polao, and various types of homemade pitha, semai, and jarda. Unmarried girls would draw butterflies, which has long been recognised by the Bengalis as a symbol of marriage, on the pitha. But in the urban areas, this type of indigenous practice was absent. In the Eid menu, homemade sweet items would get prominence. One of the main characteristic features of the nineteenth century Eid in Dhaka was the Eid procession. Probably the Nabib-Nazims of Dhaka introduced this practice of procession after taking the cue from the famous Janmashtami procession of Dhaka. After being stopped for some time in between, such processions have again been started a few years ago.

In the subsequent period, various folk-usage, such as salutation after sighting the new moon heralding Eid, touching the feet of the elderly people as a mark of respect, holding of fair and other related customs came to be in vogue in the Muslim society.

In many cases, local or urban culture has also made an impact on this festival. During the 1930s and 1940s, on the Eid day in Dhaka. Khatak dance was performed in Ramna, Arbanitola and other grounds. Besides, boat race, kite flying, horse race, hijra dance (dance performed by hermaphrodites), etc. were held. Horse race and hijra dance were features of Baboo culture, which was adapted in the Eid festival. At the start of the last century, when the political movement for a separate Muslim identity began, Eid festival assumed new importance. After the creation of Pakistan in 1947, both the Eids became the national religious festivals in the state of which present-day Bangladesh was a part, and enjoyed patronisation from the government.

As far as Eid-ul-Azha is concerned it should be mentioned at the outset that during the last century, sacrifice of animals, especially cow, on the occasion of the festival were objected to by other communities. But when the Muslims emerged as a strong community, such objections did not work. During the 1950s or 1960s, many of the middle-class families could afford to sacrifice at least one goat because it could be purchased for fifty to one hundred rupees. Many people on the villages would sacrifice domestically raised cows or goats. But after the independence of Bangladesh, when the gap between the rich and the poor widened extensively, sacrifice of the animal has now become a symbol of social status. In the villages, sacrifice is now limited within the rich and middle-class cultivators. The majority of the professionals in towns sacrifice cows on share. Still many cannot afford even that. The rich sacrifice cow or goat or both animals on their own.

Before the commencement of Eid-ul-Azha, particular cattle markets are held in various parts of the country. Paper garlands are hung in the neck of buxom and expensive cows. Urbanisation, the expansion of the middle class etc. have brought about changes in the mood of the festival. Diversification is noticeable in the type of animals that are sacrificed. Alongside goats and cows, camels and fat sheep are also sacrificed in a limited number at present. Eid for the common people means meeting with family members, buying new clothes and arranging rich food as far as possible on the Eid day.

Same composition collected from another book

The Eid is the greatest festival of the Muslim throughout the whole world. There are two Eid Festivals in a year: one is called Eid-ul-Fitr and the other is called Eid-Ul-Azha.

Throughout the month of Ramzan pious Muslims keep fast from down to dusk. On the first day of Shawal, the Muslims get up early and have a bath. Then they put on their new dress and go to offer their prayer in mosques and Eidgah maidans. After prayer, they embrace (আলিঙ্গন) one another forgetting their differences and old enmity. They have a hearty meal in their houses. Then they visit their relatives’ and friends’ houses where they are heartily welcomed. Thus they pass the day amid joy and merriment.

On this occasion, the Muslims commemorate (স্মরণ করে) the spirit of sacrifice shown by Hazrat Ibrahim. He was about to sacrifice his dearest son Ismail in the name of Allah when he was stopped and told to sacrifice a sheep in place of his son. From this day the Muslims observe this festival in the same way as Eid-ul-Fitr. On the 10th day of Jil Hajj. After saying their prayer in the morning they sacrifice cows, goats or sheep in the name of Allah and distribute a portion of the fresh among their friends, relatives and the poor. They have dainty (সুস্বাদু) dishes with their friends and relatives. On this occasion, many Muslims go to Makkah to perform Hajj pilgrimage.

These two Eids teach the Muslims self-sacrifice, unity and fraternity. So they observe the festivals with eagerness and pomp (জাঁকজমক).

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