KARACHI: Eid is a time of celebration for Muslims all around the world but the festivity and excitement that can be seen amongst Pakistani Muslims during Eid ul Azha, or Bakra Eid as most call it, goes unmatched. While women prepare elaborate menus for their annual Eid dawats, their male counterparts are mostly busy with looking after their animals, who are usually brought home days in advance.
The kids, specially, gather every evening to take their cows and goats for walks around the neighbourhood. And we can all vividly imagine the panic and excitement that fills the streets in case someone’s animal runs away.
However before the BBQ parties and the enthusiasm of having an animal to obsess over comes another crucial step. Going to the mandi. Surprisingly, this activity does not seem to be restricted to a certain age or gender within Pakistan as entire groups and families go ‘bakra shopping’.
Many of us can remember going to the mandi atleast once in our lives, probably as kids, holding our dad’s hand and looking around at the variety of animals. For some, the ‘tradition’ has lived on and the love for beautiful and unique breeds of cows pulls them towards the market each year.
While some may be repulsed by the lack of cleanliness or the crowds gathered, animal lovers, specially those interested in cows, camels, and goats, thrive in the stories and pictures that they get to share with their friends about the different breeds that they get to witness. Some might even say it looks like a carnival out there. Add some food to the picture and it’s a picnic!
Even entire groups of only females make annual trips to the mandi to appreciate the rare animals and to be able to do that without worrying for one’s safety in an otherwise ‘dangerous’ country is something we can all appreciate.
Families, friends, cousins who gather each year to celebrate the festival not just for a couple of hours but thoroughly make the most out of the occasion deserve to have their fun. After all, Pakistan already has such limited activites for its people and if the nation has learned to make the most out of their options without excluding a particular gender or socioeconomic group in the process, then it is definitely a reason to celebrate.