Roza mubaaraq from Lucknow
Ramzan is time for bonding.
The significance of Ramzan
Fasting and feasting
The f(e)asting festive mood is here and so are the Aftaar goodies... Phulki, chana, fruit chat, biryani, pulao, korma, mutton-do-pyaza, puri-aaloo, kale-chane, kheer, phirni, rumali, sheermal, nan, Kashmiri tea and naan (sweet bread with raisins) (available at Akbari gate, Lucknow), tea, coffee, juices, sherbet, halwa, plus the mandatory khujoors to break the fast.
Ramzan rozas begin after Sehari at the crack of dawn and end daily to the tune of laden dastarkhaans and jovial camarderie after the magharib namaz at dusk. And from then to the wee-hours of the next morning it's party-time, as Lucknowites would have us believe.
Lucknowite Arshi Raza enjoys the masti that Ramzan brings with it. Ramzan is time for bonding. There is such abundance of food all around that "no one can go hungry from dusk to dawn as food overflows in homes, mosques, roadside stalls and eateries of all denominations in the city," says Raza, bubbling with excitement for the gaeity to begin. And he's not the only one.
Youngster Nikhil Vishnani considers Ramzan, a great time to "enjoy Kashmiri tea and Nihari-kulchas in Nazirabad, and attend Aftaar get-togethers at Muslim friends' place." While Raza enjoys hanging out with friends and checking out the offerings in eats, the call of religious poetry sessions or Mehfils and Jalsas is also an interesting way to celebrate the sacred nights.
After the magharib namaz at dusk to the wee-hours of the next morning it's party-time, as Lucknowites would have us believe.
The sanctity of Ramzan
Young entrepreneur Imran Haq elaborates on the sanctity of Ramzan, the raison de tre for such festive gaiety: "Ramzan marks the month when the Quran Sharif was revealed by God to Prophet Mohammad. It's a sacred time to fast and celebrate."
Besides capitalising on fasting, food and religious readings, "Ramzan is also a time for charity," informs ex-air force flyer, Ali Ameer. "Zakaat or a self-asssessed valuation of all personal belongings as in property, jewellery and other valuables is done, and 2.5% of its current value is given away to underprivileged neighbours, relatives, friends, educational institutions and orphanages," he elaborates. And, "Roza-Aftaari, which is open to all, as an ongoing food-festival is a happy way of sharing and caring for the underprivileged. It means sharing God's bounty with all," is how Raza sees it.
Hanging out at Nazeerabad, Aminabad, Maulviganj, Akbari gate, Chowk eateries…
Where as, the men bond at mosques, eateries and cultural evenings, the women claim their share with wild shopping and preparing special treats for Aftaari. "The Sehari is a light affair with milk and lachhe and boiled eggs. But the Aftaari with dates, sherbet, fruit chat, dahi-phulki, sauteed chana dal and kale chane, requires loving preparation. While the lavish spread of Biryani, Korma, Kebabs, etc. is fare for dinner and later." Raza confesses that he enjoys" a light on the stomach, greens-rich Aftaari with lots of fruit and vegetarian preparations - but checking out goodies in the city while hanging out with buddies is all about 'bonding over food."
So, as the sacred season for fasting and feasting is here, nothing's stopping Lucknowites from binging on season specials!
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[Photo credits: Flickr.com]