Kolkata celebrates Eid with fervour, feasts, fashion

Kolkata: Attired in their best, thousands from the Muslim community here participated in prayer services, feasts and greetings in Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations on Thursday. They congregated at the city's principal mosque, Nakhoda Masjid, since dawn to offer prayers and best wishes for friends and family. The festival marked the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. Greetings of "Eid Mubarak" and "Chaand Mubarak" poured in with the sighting of the thin crescent Shawaal moon on Wednesday evening. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also greeted people on the festival. With the sun shining in all its might, the Red Road in central Kolkata saw over 40,000 devotees on rugs to offer namaaz. After prayers and a breakfast of dates and sweets, Muslim families got together for their first midday meal in a month. Non-Muslim friends also joined in to add diversity to the celebrations. Mughlai restaurants received high footfalls as people cutting across class and religious barriers indulged in heaps of biriyani, platters of fresh fruits and special desserts like 'sevaiyan' and 'halwa' with generous servings of dry fruits. In terms of fashion, women made a beeline for the 'Mastani' lehengas this year, made popular by actress Deepika Padukone in "Bajirao Mastani". Traditional fetes sprung up in different city pockets where men, women and children shopped for knick knacks and treats. Women gathered around in henna stalls to adorn themselves with the art while children received money from elders. Actor Salman Khan's "Sultan" was a huge draw among film goers. Security was beefed up across the city and all districts of the state in wake of the attacks in neighbouring Bangladesh.