Sacramento Eid Mela
By Zaki Syed

 
A section of the audience
Shiraz with his son and organizers

Remember the saying “You can never have too much of a good thing”. Well Eid Melas are one of those things that a person can never get enough of. Following Eid, there were Eid celebrations right and left, as Masjids, community centers, and Islamic organizations arranged numerous parties to express their joy. A couple of weeks after Eid, it was time for the Pakistani community of Sacramento to celebrate Eid. Pakistani style!
Sacramento’s Eid Mela was held in the La Sierra Community center. The Mela proceedings began with a recitation from the Holy Qur’an and singing of the American and Pakistani national anthems. This was followed by two raps songs by a group known as the “Bhangra Boys”. The first song dealt with the pleasurable experience of Eid, and encouraged everybody to scream “Eid Mubarak”. Their second song was called the “ Bhangra Dance”, and went something like this “Bhangra, Bhangra, do the Bhangra Dance”. Clapping, chanting, excitement and making some noise was the crowd’s reaction to this performance of creativity.
“Being a Bhangra Boy is lot of fun,” said twelve-year old member Zain Ahmed. “We entertain the Pakistani community, with a fun, creative, and original style”. Performing after the Bhangra Boys was another group that went by the name of Dream Sound. Dream Sound’s performance consisted of a couple of traditional Pakistani love songs. After Dream Sound’s performance, there was a quiz competition, which tested the audience’s general knowledge on facts about the US and Pakistan. The winners of this competition were awarded prizes in the form of candy and gift cards. The children at the function participated in a balloon blowing competition, in which the person who could blow the biggest balloons in an allotted period of time was adjudged the winner. In addition to the competition, there was a raffle drawing for a giveaway that consisted of expensive jewelry such as gold rings, bracelets, and watches.
Then it was time for the Pakistani celebrities to hit the scene. Aavish Rabbani burst on to the stage and got the audience moving by singing the latest pop hits, along with songs in the famous genre of music known as Bhangra. “At the concerts I sing commercial and fast songs,” said Aavish. Well his songs definitely were fast, and so was the dancing, as numerous people crowded the front of the stage dancing, jumping, and moving while Aavish sang.

Bhangra group being introduced
Audience having fun

To have thousands of people listening and enjoying his music is a dream come true for Aavish. “I don’t know how long it (fame) will last,” said Aavish, “So, I am going to fully enjoy what I have right now, and make the best of it.” Another A-list Pakistani celebrity to arrive at the mela was Shiraz Uppal. The audience was captivated by Shiraz’s rhythmic love songs, and nearly went crazy with excitement when he sang the popular “It’s the time to Disco”. Shiraz says it is the Pakistani people that have made him a big star, and for that he feels extremely lucky. “I never get tired of doing this (performing), this is my passion.” Ayesha Shiraz, Uppal’s wife, says that Uppal is Pakistan’s Melody King, and that his 2005 Album has an inspirational touch added to it.
Ayesha also enjoys going on tour with Shiraz. “It is very exciting,” said Ayesha, “There is never any set routine.”
Ayesha is right, there is never any set routine on concert tours, and bringing Pakistani celebrities such as Shiraz Uppal and Aavish Rabbani is no easy task. So what motivates Pakistani community leaders to host such exciting and enjoyable Eid Melas and concerts?
According to organizers Sajid Saleem and Sohail Shahzad, events such as these are made possible in an effort to educate the American-born Pakistani youth about their culture. Shahzad says he dreams of one day building centers that emphasize the culture of Pakistanis, and plans to keep the Pakistani community together. “People shouldn’t look at these events and see if it’s free or not, or whether there is a big artist or small artist,” said Shahzad. “They should see that if we can all stick together, then we will be able to get somewhere”. Sticking together as a community, experiencing the Pakistani culture, and having a good time are what Eid Melas are all about. Ramadan might be gone, but the spirit isn’t gone as Muslims and Pakistanis continue to meet, share, and help each other. In a couple of months Haj Season will start, but until that long it’s time for Eid, so let’s party on!

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
2004 pakistanlink.com . All Rights Reserved.