ISLAMABAD: With a significant decline in the number of Covid-19 cases and restrictions being relaxed in Pakistan, there is a sense of optimism and normalcy in the country as Muslims gear up to celebrate the Eid ul-Fitr which is marked by mass social gatherings, binge shopping, and splendid feasts.
In Islamic countries, Eid ul-Fitr marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan every year. The festival falls on Tuesday this year in Pakistan, with the government having announced four-day holidays for its celebration.
On Tuesday, people gathered in mosques and open-air places across the country to kick off their celebrations with special congregational prayers in the morning, which were followed by feasts and fun-filled activities.
Muhammad Ali was on top of the world as he awaited the arrival of his train at a bustling railway station in Rawalpindi. He was paying the first visit to his hometown in more than two years to celebrate Eid with his loved ones.
“I am so ecstatic. I can’t express how happy I am to be able to see my parents after such a long time because the government recently lifted all Covid-19 related restrictions after successfully containing the deadly virus, and vaccinating more than 80 percent of the eligible population,” Ali, a government employee, told Xinhua.
He said his family will fully enjoy the joyous occasion of Eid.
“The hard time seems to be over, at least for now. The traditional ways of celebrating the big festivals in the country are coming back … so I am looking forward to spending my Eid holidays with my family and friends, rather than worrying much about the health issues that have arisen as a result of Covid-19,” Ali said.
Hina Pervaiz, a resident of Islamabad, told Xinhua that Eid has become even more joyous this year as social activities resumed after being interrupted due to the pandemic.
She said that she was unable to go outside and enjoy the ultimate delight of shopping and roaming around the decorated markets and streets on a special day because of the Covid-19 curbs in place previously.
“I remember I was not so satisfied when I ordered a new dress online for Eid last year since it was not precisely what I wanted. For me, the celebration isn’t complete until I go to malls with my children and choose and try things on my own,” she said while browsing dresses and shoes in a well-known brand store in Islamabad.
“It’s a joyous occasion … It’s a blessing that we’re able to enjoy the event in a safe environment ensured by our government,” she added.
Apart from celebrating the festival and splurging, people in Pakistan maintain a philanthropic spirit on Eid ul-Fitr, with many organisations and individuals participating in humanitarian activities.
Hassan Shahid, an Islamabad-based philanthropist who runs a charity organisation, said that it is the responsibility of the people, especially affluent ones to take care of weaker sections of society.
“On this Eid, our organization has distributed over 10,000 Eid special packages containing essential food items and gifts to the people in need … Charity is a noble cause and the genuine spirit of Eid rests in empathy and a sense of sharing with the unprivileged,” Shahid told Xinhua.