Hands without Henna and Bangles

With only a week to go before Eid, shopping of traditional bangles and henna is yet to gather pace and stallholder are still waiting for customers.

The distribution of bangles and henna as gifts among the girls on Eids, especially on Eidul Fitr, is an old tradition of the sub-continent. Capitalising on this tradition, shopkeepers set up stalls outside their shops in markets to attract more and more customers in the mid of Ramazan. This time too, many shopkeepers have set up stalls in the main markets like Super, Jinnah Super, Aabpara and Karachi Company markets.

Against the expectations, this time the costumer response is slow towards these traditional gifts and stallholders and costumers blame different reasons for this decay. A survey revealed that price-hike is the main reason forcing the costumers to become overly choosy in Eid shopping, avoiding luxuries such as bangles and henna.

Ambreen Fatima, a young girl who was busy shopping in the Super Market, said she would buy bangles and henna for herself and her friends. “I have not yet purchased all these things but will certainly buy when the Eid comes closer,” she said.

She said it was a symbol of festivity and she would certainly participate in Eid festivities by decorating herself with henna and by wearing new and crystal bangles.

She said this was the cheapest way of taking along your friends and relatives as one can buy a full set of bangles and henna for less then Rs 100. “We always exchange gifts in the form of bangles and henna on every Eidul Fitr,” she said.

“I set up this stall during Ramazan like the last year but this time the costumers response is very poor. Nonetheless, I hope that it will go up during the last days of Ramazan when the government employees would get Eid salaries in advance,” said Farzan Ashraf, a stallholder at Aabpara Market.

He said the main reason for people keeping away from traditions is the media revolution. “People take shopping as a time-consuming and useless practice in the present day. But still there are lots of people who like this tradition and celebrate Eid in traditional manners,” he said.

He said last year’s earthquake left adverse effects on the Eid shopping with people donating money to their earthquake affected brethren rather than purchasing Eid cards, henna and bangles. “But we hope for the best this time,” he said. Abid Hussain, another stallholder at Super Market, said that he was hopeful that his business would gain momentum in the last days of Ramazan. “People have started visiting markets for Eid shopping but they are not very interested for the time being. The real Eid shopping would take place during the last four-five days of Ramazan,” he said.

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