Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Chaand Raat

Literally translated as 'night of the moon', we use it to describe the night of the new moon, which determines the end of Ramadan and the eve of our Eid celebration. After a whole month of nothing to eat or drink from before sunrise until the sun sets it's time for some partying, and lots of yummy food.

I have fond memories of Chaand raat, growing up as a teen in Pakistan. Since the lunar calender months can have either 29 or 30 days, we would wait to hear that the moon has been sighted, then we'd pack into the car and go shopping for all sorts of fun stuff, such as glass bangles to fill our arms, costume jewelry, new clothes, shoes, snacks to eat, and often it included a stop to get henna applied on our hands. The stores would stay open till the wee hours of the night, and I remember how late night in the bazaars even looked as bright as day, with more people on the streets than you would see on an average afternoon in Pakistan.

It's not the same in the U.S., but we try to have our share of some of the fun. This year the Chaand Raat celebration was co-hosted by the Muslim Community of Birmingham Association and one of our local mosques. I try and make sure that Safa gets to go, because like Christmas, it's really all about the kids. This year we tucked Bilal in and I took the older two, while Zakir had a quiet evening at home, babysitting he calls it, actually sitting slumped in front of the TV until bedtime. We had a good time; lots of our friends were there, and Safa got henna on both of her hands. I even had a bit put on one of my hands, after many years of not having it done. Applying henna is just one of those skills, some people can do it so effortlessly, for others, like me, it turns out to be a sloppy mess! I think Safa's hands turned out quite pretty, Erum is really talented. She'll have something to show off to her friends at school, after missing a day of school tomorrow.

When she washes this off her hands there should be a deep red color which ought to last a few days before it fades.

We plan to go for prayers at 8am in the morning, then there's a carnival starting at 1pm, followed by a one-dish party at a friend's house in the evening. So much to do in one day!


Amyacl said...

Eid said! (Is that right? Happy Eid!) Safa's henna looks so beautiful. I wish you a happy and fun holiday tomorrow - it sounds like you have lots of good plans to look forward to!

The Portas said...

How fun that you got to participate in this celebration. I love the henna. It's very well done. Yummy food while the sun is up, mmmmmm.........

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