New Delhi: The winding by-lanes of old Delhi were abuzz with activity Thursday as Muslims thronged the markets around the 17th century Jama Masjid to shop for new clothes, accessories and food items to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr Friday.
Eid-ul-Fitr marks the end of the dawn-to-dusk period of fasting during the month of Ramadan. While the festival was celebrated Thursday in Kerala, Saudi Arabia and some other Arab countries, it is likely to take place in Delhi Friday.
New attire, footwear and cosmetics were the most popular commodities in the market.
"Everyone has to wear new clothes and footwear on Eid if they can afford it. It`s kind of an unwritten rule," said Rahim Khan, a tailor in Meena Bazar who eagerly awaits the festival every year because of the high income he makes during the period.
Bakeries, eateries and raw meat sellers did brisk business as people bought bread, curries and kebabs for Sehri (meal before dawn) or Iftaar (meal after sunset).
Interestingly, most of the business is done at night.
When the rest of the city is dozing, the walled city comes alive with markets like Ballimaran, Chitli Kabar and Matia Mahal remaining open 24 hours in the days leading to Eid.
Be it a shop for apparel or footwear, a kiosk selling kebabs or kulfis or even a salon, for many shopkeepers, the business is so good in the days before Eid that they make up for any losses they might have incurred during the year.
"We get customers all night and have to work in shifts to cater to them. Around 30 percent of our profits are earned during Eid," said Miraj Ahmed, owner of Swadesi Boot House in Ballimaran.
"Many people have to go to offices or work during the day. So they don`t get time to shop and, therefore, they come out at night," he added.
But youngsters like Taha Alam, who are fasting during the day, see no point in tiring themselves by going out.
"I like to rest when I am fasting... I got a haircut at 3 a.m. last night and then had sehri and dozed off. I go out with friends every night to eat all kinds of food or just indulge in some window shopping," said the 16-year-old Alam.
With the festivities set to continue till Sunday, you know where to go to satiate those late night hunger pangs.