Saturday, November 13, 2004

Chand Raat

After a full day slogging through Greenbelt work at the computer, a night out with Jo to catch up on here holiday in South Africa is just what I need.

I must confess that tonight would be the first time however that I have checked the moon before deciding between curry and cinema.

It’s kind of important though because this year there seems to be more than the usual confusion about when Ramadhan ends and when Eid falls.

It all depends on Chand Raat (new moon), but early evening inspections of the night sky prove inconclusive and the internet is not any great help. Jo and I decide to chance it. If we go reasonably early we stand a chance of parking in Rusholme anyway and if the Eid celebrations do commence tonight, well the spectacle and celebration will likely compensate for the gridlocked traffic.

As I head past Longsight market my suspicions are confirmed and the Chand Raat night time market is in full swing, I regret not having known about it in advance as I have no time to stop and have a wander round now.

Parking in Rusholme proves problematic (especially for Jo), but we enjoy a meal in the Punjab, watching out the window as the celebrations (and police presence) build through the course of the evening.

With Diwali falling so close to Eid this year, the celebrations are doubled and even the Punjab is in full festive mood. The service suffers rather as the waiters spend most of the night hanging out the doorway, but the smiles on everyone’s faces more than compensates.

As I head back to my car (the side street I’ve parked on has now been cordoned off – oh joy!), the atmosphere is infectious.

I have to circumnavigate around half of South Manchester to get home, but it’s hard to mind. I suspect the celebrations will be in even fuller swing tomorrow night, but I don’t think I’ll be braving the traffic jams to see.

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