Majority of the population residing in Lakshadweep follows Islam. So it is during the Muslim festivals that Lakshadweep islands is at its most exuberant and colorful. Though many tribal festivals are also celebrated here, their celebrations are not as visible as those of Ids that are celebrated here. The best place to witness these festivals are the many mosques that are spread in almost all parts of the islands. Among all Id-Ul-Fitr celebrated in the month of Ramadan is one festival that is celebrated by every soul on the island.
Id-Ul-Fitr is the most important of all the Id celebrated throughout the year. Id-Ul-Fitr is celebrated when the new moon appears after the month of Ramadan. Ramadan is known as the month of fasting when all Muslims bar themselves from having anything during daytime. Even a drop of water is not supposed to be taken for a specified time on all days. Id-Ul-Fitr is the day when the days of fast end. The day starts with huge number of people visiting the mosques to offer prayers and recitation of holy sermons. On this day, huge feasts are organized by people in which friends and relatives are invited. Although the number of people residing in Lakshadweep islands is not very high, still, like in rest of India, the enthusiasm and energy for the day is of top notch.
Bakrid is considered to be the day when pious journey of Muslim Pilgrims to Mecca comes to an end. The day is celebrated to commemorate the day when Prophet Ibrahim sacrificed his son’s life to show his devotion to the almighty. According to the legends, The Almighty himself asked Prophet Ibrahim to offer his son Ismail as a symbol of his devotion to him. Following the instructions, Prophet took his son to th altar and sacrificed him after blindfolding himself. But when the Prophet opens his eyes, he sees Ismail alive. And in place of his son, he finds a sacrificed goat (Bakri). Since then, is the tradition of sacrificing a goat on this day prevalent. The meat is later distributed among the pilgrims in the mosque.
Also known as Mawlid in Lakshadweep, Milad-Ul-Nabi commemorates the birthday of Prophet Mohammad. The festival falls on the 12th day of Rabi-Ul-Awwal month which is the third month according to Islamic Calender. Prophet Mohammad was the last Prophet of Islam and is believed to be born in the year 571 AD. It is also the day, when Prophet Mohammad left his mortal body. On this day, several religious meetings are held in many parts of Lakshadweep island. Sweets distribution and sprinkling of ‘Attar’ takes place in all the public gatherings which are attended by both Shia and Sunni Muslims.
Muharram is a festival that celebrates the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussein. He was the grandson of Prophet Mohammad who used to live in Karbala in Iraq. The main tradition of the day is people earnestly chanting ‘Ya Hussein’ while beating their chests. This is done to mourn one of the most unfortunate days in Islamic religion. Many people also inflict pain upon themselves by using a metal chain to repent for the sins. However the most colorful and interesting part of the festival are the many tazias brought out by Shia community. The tazias, which are symbolic of the tombs of martyrs, are taken around the town in spectacular processions. The festival continues for the first ten days of the month of Muharram. On these days, people wear black clothes symbolizing their mourning.
The many festivals are the time when the colors of life truly match the innumerable hues filled in by nature. The small population of people, with their energy and enthusiasm, create an environment that is nothing less than the grandest celebrations in the heart of a metro city.