Living in a large apartment block that houses ten buildings and 128 families has its perks. You get to celebrate religious festivals (irrespective of religions – when it came to setting off fire-crackers on Shab-e-Bara’at, it didn’t really matter whether you were Muslim, Hindu or Christian), weddings, personal achievements as a whole, while also shouldering the responsibility of being there when your neighbour needs you the most; you truly learn and enjoy living in a community. Especially during the two Eids, when everyone is happy and there’s almost nothing you can do to irritate your parents (mine might make me retract this statement upon reading this).
The tiny traditions of Eid
Back in the day, the meatier of the two festivals, Eid-ul-Adha brought with it an array of activities that we would indulge in. You could ask me the price of any cow and whom it belonged to, you would have your answer within seconds along with a definitive opinion on whether it was worth it. We used to hold competitions of feeding the angriest cow in the block, and even visit other blocks to inspect the ones they had. Now in my twenties, I realise how important these experiences were to my development. It taught me how to connect with people and more importantly, taught me the meaning of responsibility - the first time I bought a goat myself was for Tk1,800 (I am great at haggling by the way), and I devoted my heart and soul to tend to the animal and make sure that it was well-fed and happy.
Which is probably why I cried profusely when the goat was slaughtered, teaching me the notion of sacrificing something valuable as an act of submission to Allah. A year later, there I was, tugging at my mother’s dupatta and pestering her to get me another one.
There’s more to it; Eid-ul-Adha teaches you much more than sacrifice – it teaches you the importance of familial bonding. The experience of going to the haat, cutting and measuring the meat to be distributed and then the ordeal of distributing them; everything about Eid-ul-Adha has its own significance that is close to the Bangali heart. This week, we asked a few millennials about their favourite qurbani Eid memories.
What does Eid mean to you?
“Eid brings with it the joy of both feasts and festivities. You can't deny that there is a certain kind of pleasure in finding yourself immersed in the frantic tempo of the city streets - mega goru haat stalls teeming with cattle, roads packed with Eid shoppers and malls adorned in multicoloured fairy lights - there's festivities all round. At the end of it all, coming home to spend the holidays with your loved ones while internally debating the love-hate relationship with goru mangsho feels like the perfect finish, until you realise it's time for dessert and the shemai bowls are beckoning you to their soft folds,” - Navin Anita, sub-editor, Bengal Foundation
“Everything about Eid-ul-Adha is crazy. The sheer joy of acquiring the perfect cow after haggling for hours at muddy haats is unparallel to any other,” - Wali-ul-Haque, engineer, Meghna ghaat power plant
“On one particular Eid, I remember going to the haat for five days straight before finally buying a cow on the second day of Eid!” - Shaer Haque, student, BRAC University
“The prospect of spending quality time with your closed ones over Eid festivities is something I always look for. Particularly during the qurbani Eid when my mom would make me her special beef chilli which no food-joint can reproduce.” - Atoshi Rahman, young entreprenuer.
“I love everything about qurbani Eid, except the smell that stays back for the following weeks” - Tasneem Chowdhury, writer