Eids – A Great Tradition in Afghanistan

How young Afghan villagers celebrate Eids?

In Afghanistan, every single Muslim person celebrates Eids, but the celebrations differs from one region to the next. Generally, Muslims celebrate the twin EidsEid Al-fitr and Eid al-Adha– twice a year with a two months gap between each. Different philosophies lie behind these celebrations. Eid Al-fitr is valuable to the Muslims once they have finished their one-month fasting called Ramadan. By contrast, the origins of Eid Altaha date back to Prophet Abraham’s era.

Egg fighting, the favorite game of young boys

Although the beginning of the festivities is announced by headman of village, young people usually can’t wait that long. Instead, they decide to celebrate Eid before, by playing a game called Khaygina jangi, which literally means egg fighting. Having boiled their eggs in water early in the morning, the young boys then color the eggs, which is the sign of beauty that goes with their galvanizing game on Eid day.

 

Before playing, every child brings around five boiled eggs. All the young boys gather to start the game: to begin, one of the boys challenges others in an epic egg throwing challenge. Once another courageous boy finally decides to accept the duel, others make a circle around them to catch every single moment of the competition. The two boys then hit their eggs against each other: the contestant who breaks all of his eggs first is the winner. This scenario repeats again and again, until one boy is declared the winner. Because opposite sexes are kept separate, young girls of the village cannot join the game; however, they can still play it in an all girl circle.

Tambourine in the hands of girls

For girls, Eid celebration is a bit different. Perhaps the most exiting moment for girls is the night prior to Eid. During that night, young girls gather in large groups to dye their hands and feet with henna, drawing various forms on their bodies. Girls practice this tradition late at night, wrapping a napkin around them to let the henna dry. They usually keep it until early morning, when they can remove the napkin to see the wonderful aromatic reddish-orange color that has spread on their hands. The drawings made on their hands vary from one’s taste and skills to another, but the most frequent one is a symbolic heart.

by Ziafatullah Saeedi