Observed as Prophet Muhammad's birthday, Id-e-Milad, also known as the Milad-un-Nabi, is celebrated with great enthusiasm among the Muslims during the third month of the Islamic calendar which is known as the Rabi’al-awwal.
The history of this festival dates back to the very initial days of Islam as a religious movement. It was a time when Islamic followers used to have religious sessions in the honour of their revered Muhammad which included poetries and songs sung and recited amid huge public gatherings. In the year 1588, the Ottoman Turks even declared this day as their official holiday and named it Mevlid Kandil.
And it was perhaps owing to this, that the term Mawlid has also been used in various parts of the world such as Egypt majorly referring to the birthdays of historical and religious figures like Saints and Sufis.
In the initial days of Islam, the followers of Islam used to celebrate the celebrations privately. However, after some time, the arrangements began to be held in public. It is said that firstly, the celebrations were introduced in the city of Ceuta which is located in Spain by a religious scholar of that time Abu ‘I’ Abbas-al Azafi. It was done in a way of strengthening the bonds between the Muslim community as well as to counteract the Christian festivals. It is believed that the origin of this festival can be traced back to the 8th century. This was a time when Prophet Muhammad’s house was essentially converted into the house of prayers by Al-Khayzuran who was none other than the mother of Caliph Harun-al-Rashid.
Originally, this festival was celebrated by the Shia community in the Muslims. However, by the 12th century, even the Sunnis adopted this festival. But there was much resistance from the Sunni community initially. It was not until sometime around the 15th century that this festival was widely accepted. And by the 20th century, many regions also declared national holidays on the account of this festival.
The very early celebrations of this festival included a Sufi influence, animal sacrifice as well as torchlight processions. The celebrations used to happen during day time mainly, which is in stark contrast to the modern-day observances.
Within the Muslim community - Id-e-Milad is celebrated as a day of festivities and fun. However, most people celebrate in a variety of ways such as visiting mosques, distributing sweets, spending quality time with the family, singing, and indulging in arts and lectures.
Distribution of Sweets - On this occasion, Muslim people majorly express their happiness by distributing sweets to their neighbours, family, and friends. However, honey is one of the majorly distributed food among the Muslims on this day. This is mainly because of the fact that many scholars used to believe that honey was the favourite of their prophet.
Visiting Mosques - On this day, Muslims don’t miss visiting the mosque to offer their prayers. And after participating in the prayers, people generally indulge themselves in discussions pertaining to Muhammad and his life.
Singing - On this day, the Muslim community sings with great joy and happiness. And one of the major songs which is very popular for this occasion is Maulaud. As per the traditional values of Islam, singing this song brings good luck and also reaffirms the loyalty of the devotee towards God.
This festival holds a very special place in the Muslim community. On this day, people prepare a variety of delicacies for distributing amid their friends and for their own consumption. Some of the most popular sweets are Baklava and Seviyan which are essentially prepared with many other delightfully scrumptious sweets. The Muslim men generally wear Kurta and Pyjama and the women go with Abaya, Jibab, and Duppata.
By Air - For traveling to Kashmir via air you will need to take a flight to Srinagar airport. The Srinagar airport is very well maintained and well-connected to major cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chandigarh, etc. After deboarding at the airport, you can easily take a cab to reach your specific destination.
By Train - The nearest railway station is the Jammu Tawi railhead. Traveling via train, one gets to see the incredible natural views of the terrific scenery which the land of Kashmir has to offer to anyone and everyone. Some good options to travel to Kashmir via trains are New Delhi-Jammu Tawi Rajdhani Express, Jammu Mail and Jammu Tawi Express, etc.
By Road - Travelling to Kashmir via road can really be a great and memorable travel experience for anyone. Especially if you are traveling with your friends. The overall road connectivity from Kashmir to other nearby and major Indian cities is quite good.
9th-10th November, 2019
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