Rani Andleeb

PESHAWAR: The engagement ceremony of my brother was held just before Ramazan and then his in-laws sent ‘Barkha’ for him during Ramazan which is a Pashto tradition of sending gifts to the would-be son-in-law on the occasion of Eid.

The gifts include food items for Iftar before Eid and also some other items. These kind of traditions have been developed by Pakhtuns themselves for ‘enjoyment’. However, most of the times these unnecessary traditions bring people under unwanted financial pressure. There is no concept of such traditions in Islam, but Pakhtuns have imposed such practices upon themselves just for the sake of continuity of these practices.

The well-off people observe these traditions easily, but the poor people come under unnecessary financial burden and feel uneasy. So the Pakhtuns have for themselves created a bridge between such traditions and Islamic months.

On the other hand, coronavirus has also impacted the way people approach the life during Eid for the last two years. Coronavirus restrictions have dampened the celebrations of Eid and now people had to observe social distancing.

Eid is an Arabic language word which means celebration or festivities and Fitr means opening (from Fast). Muslims have associated some traditions with the holy month of Ramazan and Eid which have no link with Islam and people observe these practices for their own happiness.

There is also a practice of criticising those who fail to observe traditions like Barkha etc. Barkha is sent to the would be son-in-law in the last 10 days of Ramazan. It includes several kinds of foods, fruit, sweet dishes and clothes and shoes also. The proportion of gifts may increase according to financial condition of the gift senders.

Another such tradition in Pakistan is Eidi in which people pay money to youngsters on the occasion of Eid. The quantity of Eidi varies keeping in view the financial strength of the person who pays Eidi. And children often get offended when they receive Eidi lower than their expectation. If someone pays Eidi to your children, they you also become bound to pay Eidi. And if the amount is not according to expectation, then criticism starts.