Tuesday May 17, 2022

‘Chand Raat’ is here again

June 25, 2017

Islamabad: If Eidul Fitr is for children, as is popularly said, then the night ahead of the festive day is certainly for girls and women.

Stepping out, making some last-minute buying like that of artificial jewellery, bangles, clothes and shoes, having henna applied to their hands, doing some munching and walking around some hours before the hectic day of Eid are what the fairer sex goes for on the night, ‘Chand Raat’ in local lingo, that marks the end of fasting month of Ramazan with the sighting of moon.

Just a brief visit to Super Market, Jinnah Super Market, G-9 Markaz, F-10 Markaz and G-10 Markaz in Islamabad and Saddar, Commercial Market, Murree Road, Raja Bazaar and Tench Bhata in Rawalpindi could provide good enough evidence for it with a maddening rush of people, especially women, all around once the Shawwal moon sighting is announced by Ruet-e-Hilal Committee. Some leading hotels also arrange ‘Chand Raat’ functions, but only women from the gentry show up for items sold there being much expensive compared with those available on bazaars and ‘melas’.

Glass bangles and henna are the first thing women, old or young, look for at roadside stalls or Eid bazaars. The more variety of bangles and latest patterns of henna you have, the more chances you have of attracting large crowds. In this time of cutthroat competition, lights and music are the new attractions for female Eid shoppers. Mostly, young boys run these stalls and women don’t mind being served by them. However, some stalls offer services of women too.

Shumaila, a student in her 20s, said buying bangles and getting palms decorated with henna was a tradition she had been aware of since her early days. She said wearing glass bangles was not an in-thing for girls of today in daily routine unlike their mothers, but doing so on special occasions like Eid or marriages was a custom, which everyone had to go by. She said women tried to find lightweight bangles matching their Eid apparels and footwear.

A vendor said that they purchased bangles from the Punjab and Sindh, but Hyderabad was popular for bangle making.

As for henna application, some women prefer doing it by themselves, while the majority of female visitors like to get it done by ‘experts’ occupying makeshift stalls at bazaars and special Eid bazaars. With catalogues and albums of the sorts on display, these henna applying experts guide women on both modern and traditional henna designs and application techniques.  Their unanimous claim is longevity of the henna colour and design uniqueness at an affordable price. It’s also seen that girls, especially workingwomen prefer henna, whose impact does not last long. To serve such a lot, wash-off quality of henna is also available on the market. Some women produce their own designs for henna applications. Going to beauty parlours for a hairdo, manicure or pedicure is also a must for many women and girls on ‘Chand Raat’ and therefore, beauty parlours of all sorts report a roaring business on this very special day of the year.

Things have changed a lot over a period of time but these ‘Chand Raat’ ‘musts’ are an exception. This is slightly reflective of how well we are still connected with our customs and traditions despite being under strong influence of westernisation and that we don’t miss a single moment or occasion to cheer about while having stressed-out routines. Perhaps, it’s the best thing of ‘Chand Raat’.