Over 3000 celebrate the Chand Raat Mela
On August 18, 2012, the great effort for spiritual introspection and growth had been accomplished and it was time to breathe deeply and celebrate! The huge Eid party at Berkmar High School in Lilburn, GA brought together a throng of families and people of all ages (over 3,000 in all) in a truly festive atmosphere.
Zee Hassan of ZafNet Media has arranged Chand Raat Mela for the last ten years—“because it brings a smile to everyone’s face.” Starting at 4pm, entrance lines grew, with most coming in the evening. Inside, throngs of people smiled—right up to 2am.
Tiny sparkling party purses! (Photo: Suzanne Sen)
There were over 40 booths in all. At one side, a busy mela full of tables and racks displayed clothing and accessories like tiny sparkling party purses, scarves, bangles, and jewelry of all shapes and sizes. A large variety of ladies dresses were being sold, many at very affordable prices. Men’s items included expensive wedding kurtas and traditional slippers, khussa and others. The biggest crowd was at the clothing and jewelry stalls about 10pm, where competition and deals made shopping fun.
Preparing the tubes of henna. (Photo: Suzanne Sen)
From the other side of the gymnasium wafted the delicate aroma of henna or mehndi (a traditional custom for Chand Raat, for hands, arms, and feet). So many henna booths, crowded with women and girls! Heads bent in concentration over henna cones or poring over pattern books. Kids activities and a charity booth made up the rest of the space on that side of the gym.
Choosing a pattern from the henna books. (Photo: Suzanne Sen)
Pillows, time, and concentration for the elaborate designs. (Photo: Suzanne Sen)
Pick off the dried brown henna, and the orange stain will darken. (Photo: Suzanne Sen)
(Left) "A spider! I want that one!"
Little girls had their faces painted as complex flowers or fantastic animals, and boys oohed and aahed over wonderful spiders on their arms. The balloon man made hats, swords, and animals, and juggled. Booths of toys and bouncing houses were seriously super fun. Parents appreciated bringing kids under 10 in free.
Volunteers collected donations for the needy, sadqa (voluntary charity) and fitra (amount paid by head of family to members under his care for enjoying Eid).
And never have you seen a longer table of so many kinds of delicious sweets, from private caterer Ms. Hasina: Bangali Mithai, Halwa, and snacks. (Photo: Suzanne Sen)
Time for food? Biryani, Haleem, Chana Cholay, and Kabab Rolls, Paan, and many kinds of delicious sweets added chaar chand to the evening.
Front and center was entertainment. On stage were kids in fashion shows, a fashion show by Sumera Molu, a Ladies Best Dressed contest. Couples games were led by Sifte and Seema Farooqui, and Aslam Pervez took his quiz game Neelam Ghar into the audience. Of course, there was singing by Rekha Pallath, Tanweer Mian, Lakshmi Rao, Tanjina, Pankaj, Purnima, and Vandana. Local upcoming artists Shiraz Sikanadar, Riyaz Rajwani, and Ahmed Sahir tried out. Emcees were Sadaf Farooqui, Tariq Shahab, Sifte and Seema Farooqui, and Alwani. And Shenila Daredia, the bubbly new Ms. India Georgia 2012, made a happy appearance.
Free gifts and prizes were distributed throughout the evening, and National Food gave out over 20 bags of their packaged foods. The Raffle Draw for an Apple iPad was won by Mrs. Sumera Naim.
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