Eid-ul-Adha is traditionally celebrated on the tenth day of Zull-Hijjah, the last month in the Islamic calendar. On this Eid, Muslims across the globe sacrifice animals depending on what a person can afford to mark the festival.
In the morning, going around the neighborhood and visit relatives to wish Eid greetings right after Fajr namaz (per-dawn prayers) is the norm in Kashmiri society. The day begins with a cup of 'Meethi Chai' along with a variety of bakery items and sweets.
Many sacrifice their animals on the first day of Eid, while sacrifice of animals continues till the end of 3rd day.Then meat is divided into three parts. One part is distributed among neighbours, and poor in the society. Second part among close relatives and 3rd part is kept by the owner.
The auspicious festival is also known as the “feast of sacrifice,” because of the variety of foods eaten during the festival. Over the past several decades there has been a complete change in Eid-ul-Adha traditions in the Valley.
Traditions vary in every part of the world but one thing they all have in common is that there will be a variety of dishes and the feast will be enjoyed.
In Kashmir, food is considered an important segment of Eid celebrations. Mouthwatering delicacies are prepared in homes to keep the legacy continue.
Ashuba Majeed, a local from Eidgah Srinagar told Rising Kashmir that they prepare several dishes on Eid-ul-Adha and the preparation begins in advance mostly, on Arafah - a day before Eid.
“Cuisines prepared for Eid are predominantly non-vegetarian including Spinach Chicken, Yakni, Rogan Josh, Shami- Kabab and Tomato Cheese. Eid lunch is considered a good time to spend with the family,” She said.
Ashuba says some prominent vegetarian dishes are also prepared for the elders including Nadur (Lotus Stem) and Collard Green (Haak).
The sacrificial meat is used to make Barbeques that are enjoyed by the family in the evening. While some part of it is used to make Rista, Goshtab and Korma, Ashuba said.
Eid-ul-Adha encompasses Qurbani which is the sacrifice of an animal. The meat of the sacrificed animal is then divided into three parts; One part is kept for his family and the other two parts are distributed among neighbors and relatives.
Deeba Nabi, a local from Hyderbeigh Pattan in north Kashmir's Baramulla says Eid-ul-Adha is a festival of food. From rich to poor, traditional Kashmiri dishes are enjoyed by one and all.
"Apart from bakery items, I am planning to prepare Shahi-Chicken, Yakni and Mutton Korma, Kashmir Haak, Shahi-Paneer, and Salad for this Eid-ul-Adha,” she said.
Deeeba says they also visit family
elders, friends, and neighbors, wearing new clothes, and making children happy are among the Valley’s traditions.
Yasir Ahmad Sofi, who is head Chef in a Srinagar-based restaurant, says food is an intrinsic part of festivities and traditions. It brings families together.
"Eid ul Adha is a special occasion, which is known for bringing together friends and family for celebrating traditional Kashmiri delicacies and dishes," he said.
Yasir says over the past several years, they are serving both lunch and dinner on Eid at their restaurant. There is a special menu for the Eid-ul-Adha and it is a new outing trend among the younger new generation families,' he said.
“People love to share special moments with us. When any Kashmiri family is gathered for Eid lunch or dinner, all the worries are put to rest. Nothing is better than sharing a meal with loved ones,” 35-year-old Yasir said.
He said traditional dishes including Kashmiri Wazwaan are served to people. These things reflect our culture and rich tradition. Apart from family outings, they are getting delivery orders from the customers, he said.
Bakeries and confectionaries are among the top priority of people in Kashmir. These outlets are flooded with customers before the Eid-ul-Adha and these food items are considered important during the celebrations.
John Mohammad, a bakery owner from Magarmal Bagh Srinagar told Rising Kashmir that there is a heavy rush of customers these days. People prefer customized cakes and cookies this Eid, he said.
“We have already received 100 orders from customers across Srinagar city and we will be delivering them before the Eid-ul-Adha. There is good demand for bakery products this year as compared to previous years,” Mohammad said.
He said cakes, biscuits, chocolates, and a variety of Namkeen products are a prime attractions for customers this year.
Apart from food, there are special moments during the three-day festival in Kashmir. Most of the family children get Eidi (Eid money) from the elders.
Eid day is marked with the early morning congregational Eid prayers, wearing new clothes, and exchanging greetings to dear ones.
Dr. Sabzar Ahmad Batoo, a local from Achabal Anantnag says during his childhood, her father would keep his Eidi either in Buegwaer (money-bank) or would keep it safe for stationary work.
"Each year, we whitewash and clean our house for the occasion. Family members greet one another on Eid day by saying 'Eid Mubarak' which means 'blessed Eid' and also exchange greetings,” he said.
Dr. Sabzar said these things are aimed to generate a feeling of goodwill. On the second and third day, we also visit relatives throughout the day, enjoying food at every stop," he said.
He said Eid-ul-Adha is always a very special occasion in Kashmir. By and large, the Eid celebration varies from district to district, and the taste, too, changes according to regional preferences.
Noted poet and historian Zareef Ahmad Zareef said there has been change in the evolution of celebrating Eid-ul-Adha.
"When Kashmir was all green and pollution-free, people used to wait for Eid to come to celebrate as per their resources and income. There was no show-off of things like in present society," he said.
“The day was indeed enjoyed and celebrated by all. For people, it was about happiness and thanksgiving to the Almighty. Women and young girls would welcome Eid by performing Rauf,” noted poet said.
Zareef says in the past, middle-class people including artisans would wear washed clothes whereas rich people would wear new clothes. In the morning, Meetha Kehwa was served and people used to go Eidgah for prayers.
“The elders would donate money to poor people. Elites used to take care of the people and get essentials for them during Eid. Eidi or a gift during Eid given by older relatives was saved by children to purchase essential things,” he said.
“This money was spent to buy things. It was the celebration of love, happiness, and warmth where no one was left out.”
Zareef said Eid had an ethnic and cultural touch but we have forgotten it today. The discipline, warm-heartedness that we have lost has to be brought back in ourselves,” he said.
The prominent historian says special care was taken to weaker sections of the society and even sacrificial mutton was distributed among the Kashmir Pandits as well. There was real happiness,” he said.
“Traditional bakery items that were preferred include Kandi Kulcha (Meetha Kulcha), Qatlam (Bakerkhani), Sheermal, and Kashmiri crip,” he said.
Zareef said people used to celebrate the festival of Eid-ul-Adha by sacrificing animals. Those who are financially capable purchase goats and sacrifice them.
“The meat is distributed among the needy, community members, relatives, and immediate family,” he said.
Zareef said there is a need to understand the real philosophy of Eid-ul-Adha and people have to celebrate Eid with simplicity.