Just as the sighting of the Shawaal moon was confirmed Sunday night, there was big cheer all around town.
As always, people headed to the markets and shopping centres to make last-minute purchases — clothes, shoes, cosmetics, sweets and groceries.
However, the occasion involved a lot more. Youngsters, as they did on Independence Day, were out on the motorbikes with their noisy silencers; others set off firecrackers and some others partied late into the night.
All major markets, including Jinnah Super, Super, Aabpara, F-10 Markaz, G-9 Markaz, Raja Bazaar, Moti Bazaar, Commercial Centre and business hubs located along Benazir Bhutto Road and Saddar were beautifully illuminated.
Young girls and women were also out in big numbers, looking especially for bangles and getting their hands painted with ‘henna,’ without which they say, no Eid is complete.
Women swarmed the stalls selling bangles and artificial jewellery as the sellers tried their best to cope with the mad rush. “I knew this was going to happen,” said bangle-seller Muhammad Tazeem of the big crowd.
Despite the rush, bangle sellers at the ‘Choori Bazaar’ at Jinnah Market, said that they do not make huge profits. “At the most we make about Rs20,000 profit in 15 days,” said Asim Shakil.
He pointed out that they have to pay Rs35,000 for a 10-ft stall to the market’s trade union. “They are the ones who then pay the Capital Development Authority (CDA) and make other arrangements.” Asim said that he made more profits when he used to set up his stall at Aabpara Market. “There were more serious buyers there than we have here.”
There were reports of traffic jams around some shopping centres as was expected. The Islamabad Traffic Police however, did their best and ensured the jams were quickly cleared. Meanwhile, all major sweet shops and bakers were also crowded with people queuing up to buy ‘mithai’ and cakes for their near and dear ones. Over past few years, the trend of sending cakes and sweets has picked up. This is now considered the best way to greet others.
On the other hand, the housewives had their hands full, having to ensure there was enough food and sweets to be laid out for visitors expected on Eid. Cooking is a major task these women have to perform.
Many women try new recipes to impress their guests. The cooking shows on various television channels have however, made their job easy, it seems. “They showed various easy-to-make recipes for Eid,” said Mrs Ayesha Agha.
The sound of the silencer-less bikes and firecrackers could be heard well past midnight as people marked ‘Chand Raat’ the way they always do.