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A Chaand Raat celebration in Hyderabad, India

Islam in India


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Chaand Raat (Hindi: चाँद रात, Urdu: چاند رات literally, Night of the Moon) is a Hindi, Urdu and Bengali locution used in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh[1] for the eve of the Muslim festival of Eid; it can also mean a night with a full moon.

Chaand Raat is a time of celebration when families and friends gather in open areas at the end of the last day of Ramadan to spot the new moon, which signals the arrival of the Islamic month of Shawwal and the day of Eid. Once the moon is sighted, people wish each other Chaand Raat Mubarak ("Have a blessed night of the new moon") or Eid Mubarak ("Blessings of the Eid day"). Women and girls decorate their hands with mehndi (henna), and people prepare desserts for the next day of Eid and do the last round of shopping.

City streets have a festive look, and brightly decorated malls and markets remain open late into the night.[2] Chaand Raat is celebrated festively and passionately by Muslims (and occasionally non-Muslims as well) all over South Asia, and in socio-cultural significance, this night is comparable to Christmas Eve in Christian nations.

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Etymology

The term is derived from the Sanskrit words candrá (चंद्र) "moon"[3 ] and rā́tri (रात्रि) "night".[4 ]

Background

Although Chaand Raat celebrations are linked with both kinds of Eid, they have their ‎origin in Eid ul-Fitr, which is celebrated on the 1st of Shawwal. As the beginning ‎of an Islamic month depends on the first sighting of the lunar crescent, the ‎month of Ramadan can be of either 29 or 30 days. The term Chaand Raat refers ‎to the evening on which first lunar crescent of the month of Shawwal is observed. As the ‎exact day of an Eid ul-Fitr is a matter of debate, because of the uncertainty of the Islamic ‎Calendar, therefore, its Chaand Raat is considered more festive than that of Eid ul-‎Adha.‎

Chaand Raat of Eid ul-Adha is not celebrated by all Muslims of South Asia, partly ‎because these celebrations are mostly related to Eid ul-Fitr. Eid ul-Adha is celebrated on the ‎‎10th of Dhu al-Hijjah, which means, unlike Eid ul-Fitr, its day is decided 9 days in ‎advance, because of which, in opinion of some Muslims, its Chaand Raat loses its ‎festiveness.‎

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