The festival of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramazan, is celebrated in Afghanistan with tremendous fervor. As the festival approaches, there is huge rush in markets. People are shopping for clothes, gifts and food items. When it comes to food, nothing beats dried fruits. Eid al-Fitr festivities are incomplete without dried fruits.
The holy month of Ramazan is about to conclude and the festival of Eid is fast approaching. For many of us, Eid al-Fitr means ostentatious festivities and sumptuous food.
With less than a week left for the most popular and widely celebrated Muslim festival, markets are abuzz in Kabul as people are on a shopping spree.
For people in Kabul, shopping is an important part of any festival. Splurging money on clothes and food items is important without which the festival of Eid al-Fitr is virtually incomplete.
These days, the dried fruit stores in Kabul are witnessing tremendous rush of customers who want to buy variety of dried fruits for Eid al-Fitr festival.
Shopkeepers offer wide variety of dried fruits in all price ranges so that people from both low-income and high-income group can buy them.
People belonging to all age groups, including women and children, can be seen shopping for dry fruits these days in Shahr e Naw and Mandavi areas of central Kabul.
People buy different types of dried fruits and arrange them in beautiful dishes and put those dishes on the floor for guests.
The tradition of relatives, friends and neighbors visiting each other on Eid al-Fitr is common in Afghanistan and dried fruits are synonymous with good hospitality.
Gifting people a big basket of dried fruits and chocolates is one of the most interesting ideas for Eid al-Fitr. Those readymade baskets are available in all the markets.
Around this time, just ahead of the festival, the price of dried fruits like almonds, raisins, mulberry, apricot, cashew, pistachio and fig soars as the demand increases.
The export of dried fruits also increases in the weeks prior to Eid al-Fitr, most of it exported to neighboring countries like Pakistan and India.
Prior to 1980, when the country got embroiled in civil war, about 60 percent of the world’s dried fruits and nuts used to come from Afghanistan.
Seen as an alternative to poppy cultivation in Afghanistan, the government of Afghanistan is supporting dried fruit industry by providing traders access to international markets.
According to industry observers, the dried fruit industry of Afghanistan has the potential to export commodities beyond regional markets like India and Pakistan.