Why Eid in Dubai does not even compare to the Eid in Lahore
Having been raised in two Muslim countries, UAE and Pakistan, Eid has always been the festival of the year for me. I won’t lie, but from childhood till date, my favourite Eid has always been Eidul Fitr, in other words, Choti Eid.
In Dubai, Eid was all about henna. Trust me, if you know the art of henna painting, cash in on your strengths and rush to Dubai. All the salons will be packed. In a country like UAE, where no one in their right mind can imagine having heaters, on the eve of Eid, you’ll find Arab women drying their henna painted hands and feet with the help of heaters.
While I waited for my turn at the salon, my mother would be busy making the dessert of the year,Sheer Khorma. We would wake up on Eid day to my father yelling at my brothers, since they never wake up on time for Eid prayers. Once the prayers were done, we’d start our day with the Sheer Khorma followed by Puri Channa. After getting ready, my father would give me Eidi, which would always be the heftiest amongst all the other Eidis.
Our next stop would be at Patchi, a famous chocolatier and the boutique to go for beautifully wrapped chocolates in the most exclusive of all trays. There my father would decide on the route and the number of families we had to visit.
This was usually the fun part; hopping from one family friend’s place to the other, as we didn’t have any relatives in Dubai. The highlight of the day was the Eid party at night, because this is when we would get more Eidi for all the relatives.
The second day of Eid would be an open house at our house and the same people we would visit on the first day of Eid would come visit us. However, even though it would be a holiday, all of us would be up early in the morning since Eid in Pakistan would always be the next day. We would start off with the Eid Mubaraks to my paternal side of the family, followed by our maternal side of the family.
The third day of Eid would be a downer only because it meant the end of Eid holidays.
Eid with family friends had its own highs, yet these celebrations are only time bound. Just like all good things come to an end, Eid with family friends is restricted to a few hours.
On the other hand, Eid in Lahore was the real deal. Or Chaand raat definitely was.
One of the downers of Eid in Dubai used to be the limited clothes option we had to choose from. This is before the influx of Pakistani designers or Eid exhibitions in Dubai. Hence, all Pakistani families had to resort to either getting their Eid clothes tailored during their summer vacations to Pakistan, or earnestly hope a relative or friend from Pakistan would be coming to Dubai so that your relatives could send in a few joras with them. Another option was to go with what we had and that was buying Indian clothes. Now Indian clothes would definitely be perfect for a wedding, but it’s Eid, and you just want a nice semi-formal outfit, which you could never get from an Indian boutique.
And this is why Eid in Lahore was no less than a shopping paradise. Nothing can beat the shopping trips with the cousins in the last week of Ramazan. Chand raat meant being out with cousins, trying to find the right pair of shoes and chooriyan (bangles). All of us would end up at Dupatta Galli in Liberty.
The shopping and traffic wars would end with the men complaining about the ordeal they were put through. Herein, the first day of Eid meant a khandaan (family) reunion at my Dadi’s (paternal grandmother) ancestral home. It would start off with channa, puris, hareesas and then sevaiyan. Then came the Eidi, which was followed by all the cousins crafting plans of what all could be done with the Eidi. It’s another thing that no such plan would ever materialise.
This would be followed by waiting the entire day for our ancestral cook to churn out the staple lunch feast, be it Eidul Fitr, Eidul Azha or a Barsi (death anniversary), the korma, biryani and zarda was the fixed menu. End of story.
A fact about Eid in Pakistan is everything would be centered around competition. Every family would like to up the other, be it in the grand feasts they lay out, to how the women dressed or how extravagant they were with the new notes they dished out as Eidi.
However, in Dubai, everyone loved decking up and putting out a grand spread but the real fun was in meeting up, laughing about past incidents, playing home videos and reminiscing about all the people who had left Dubai and moved either to their homeland or Canada (somehow everyone just ended up going there). In Dubai, plans of going out and spending your Eidi actually did happen. There were always lunch and movie plans which would happen post-Eid or as we liked to call it, the fourth day of Eid.
Eid with family friends had its own charm; it was devoid of any animosity hidden behind fake smiles and forced Eid Mubaraks. There was zero competition which absolutely made Eid a delight, rather than a trial of all sorts.
This year, I’ll be celebrating Eid in Karachi for the first time, away from my family, relatives, family friends and most importantly as a married woman. Now that I’m away from all of them, one thing I did realise is, love them or hate them, Eid is only festive and fun only with loved ones around.
The upside about Eid as a married girl is the joras galore, Eidi from the husband and the in-laws, but what I’m anxiously waiting for is the Eidi that will come from my parents all the way from Lahore. I know how my mom would have visited every outlet scrutinising every outfit in the quest for the perfect Eid attire and one that would also colour coordinate with the Eidi she’s sending her son-in-law.
In this case, I know the Eidi would be over the top, but in all honesty, this Eidi definitely is one where I absolutely feel it’s the thought that counts. Knowing that my mother’s hands packed outfits for me means the world to me.
This Eid will be calmer and more relaxed since we don’t have any extended family in Karachi and this makes me ponder over life; I feel it’s come a full circle. In Dubai, Eid was all about friends and the same goes with my Eid in Karachi. On a brighter note, Eid would mean holidays and now I have a third city added to my Eid memoirs.
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