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Eid In Walled City: How Old Lahore Has Kept The Tradition Alive

Androon Lahore or the walled city of Lahore (the old Lahore) is known for its festivities and vibrant life. No matter what the occasion is, the people of Androon Lahore celebrate it with zeal and zest.

Same is the case with the Eid ul Fitr which marks the end of the Holy month of Ramzan. In Androon Lahore, Eid ul Fitr is a time of receptions, celebrations, get to gathers and private functions in havelis, streets, koochas, mohallahas and historic homes. The friends and families greet one another, presents are given, new clothes are worn, and the graves of relatives are visited.

This is the time when there is no caste, colour or creed and that is the spirit of Androon Lahore, this is not seen anywhere else in Lahore. People from all sects get together to celebrate days in the walled city, whether that is Eid Ul Fitr, Muharram or Eid ul Azha.

The festivity of Eid usually starts in the walled city of Lahore with the beginning of Ramzan. People start decorating their havelis, streets, mohallahs, koochas and houses. Women and children are out in the markets to buy new clothes, jewellery, shoes and other accessories. It’s like Eid from the beginning of Ramzan in old Lahore. Youm-e-Ali, the day of mourning, on 21st Ramazan is also observed and people respect the mourning and processions on that day and the markets remain close.

The Chowk Rang Mehal, Kashmiri Bazaar, Sheikhupurian Bazaar and Gumti Bazaar are the hotspot for shopping and Ramazan is the month when the shopkeepers are very happy because of the sales and selling products.

While the Eid is approaching, you will see an interesting life inside the walled city. The food vendors remain open from Sehri till Iftari. The shops are all open and one can go out for shopping at any time during the day. Chowk Heera Mandi, Phajja Paye Chowk, Rang Mehal, Lohari and Bhatti Gate streets are seen open all night for sehri and aroma of the recipes is in the air which will capture you and make you sit there and have sehri.

Same is the case during the iftar time. Samosa, Pakora, jalebi and what not…all is aromatic and in the air.

You will see that people mostly sit outside on street side restaurants or dhabas for sehri and iftar while the ladies of the house get busy in the shopping.

The best part of Ramazan is when the neighbours exchange iftars and sehri. Everyone knows what’s cooking in other kitchens. This is the love between the neighbours and advantage of the closely knitted neighbourhood.

Now let’s come to the Eid Days inside the walled city of Lahore. All three days of the Eid are full of festivity and colours. The day starts with the Eid prayers and all the mosques including Badshahi Masjid, Wazir Khan Masjid, Mariam Zamani Masjid, Neevin Masjid, Sonehri Masjid, Shah Jahani Masjid and all others are jam packed with worshipers.
Family and friends start planning to go for Eid prayers a day before and you will see groups of all ages going to the mosque early in the morning. The women of the house on Eid day are busy cooking Kheer and Sheerkhurma and wait for their men to return home to begin the festivities.

The girls and females of the houses dress up traditionally and pretty little girls are seen out in the balconies and streets.

An interesting thing which still is seen in the walled city is the exchange of kheer and sweets on Eid. Somehow, this trend is losing its spirit in the modern Lahore. That’s the connectivity of the neighbours in the old Lahore, which was once witnessed in modern Lahore as well. I remember that during my childhood my grandma used to cook a good amount of kheer and it was distributed in the entire street and neighborhood, but now I don’t see this practice anymore. Old Lahore, however, has kept this tradition alive.

This is something good about the walled city of Lahore, that they have not let the traditions die. The people of the walled city are still carrying on the ages old culture and traditions of their forefathers. I wish we could also do that.

Yes, Eidi is a very important part of the Eid in the walled city of Lahore. Children get around the elders of the family and then receive Eidi. Then what, they have to spend the amount they gather and so they are out on the street and buying different items or eatables. This is no doubt a lovely and a mesmerizing sight.

The females of the house cook food for lunch and the entire family sits together to enjoy the food. Then the day gets busy in meeting the relatives, friends and then the male members hang out by sitting on tharas (platforms) outside their house.

Eid is fun if you are in the walled city of Lahore. I wish we had such colors and festivity in the greater Lahore, but unfortunately, we in greater Lahore have lost the spirit of Ramazan and Eid. I think we should keep our traditions alive like the people of walled city have done.

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Naya Daur