Chaand Raat (Hindi: चाँद रात; Urdu: چاند رات; Bengali: চাঁদ রাত, [Chaad Raat]; literally, Night of the Moon) is a Hindi, Urdu locution used in Pakistan and India for the eve of the Muslim festival of Eid ul-Fitr; it can also mean a night with a full moon
Chaand Raat is a time of celebration when families and friends gather in open areas at the end of the last day of Ramadan to spot the new moon, which signals the arrival of the Islamic month of Shawwal and the day of Eid. Once the moon is sighted, people wish each other Chaand Raat Mubarak ("Have a blessed night of the new moon") or Eid Mubarak ("Blessings of the Eid day"). Women and girls decorate their hands with mehndi (henna), and people prepare desserts for the next day of Eid and do the last round of shopping.
City streets have a festive look, and brightly decorated malls and markets remain open late into the night. Chaand Raat is celebrated festively and passionately by Muslims (and occasionally non-Muslims as well) all over South Asia, and in socio-cultural significance, this night is comparable to Christmas Eve in Christian nations.
Although Chaand Raat celebrations are linked with both kinds of Eid, they have their origin in Eid ul-Fitr, which is celebrated on the 1st of Shawwal. As the beginning of an Islamic month depends on the first sighting of the lunar crescent, the month of Ramadan can be of either 29 or 30 days. The term Chaand Raat refers to the evening on which first lunar crescent of the month of Shawwal is observed. As the exact day of an Eid ul-Fitr is a matter of debate, because of the uncertainty of the Islamic calendar, therefore, its Chaand Raat is considered more festive than that of Eid ul-Adha.
Chaand Raat of Eid ul-Adha is not celebrated by all Muslims of South Asia, partly because these celebrations are mostly related to Eid ul-Fitr. Eid ul-Adha is celebrated on the 10th of Dhu al-Hijjah, which means, unlike Eid ul-Fitr, its day is decided 9 days in advance, because of which, in opinion of some Muslims, its Chaand Raat loses its festiveness.
In Northern Virginia thousands of locals gather for shopping, food, and opportunities to network with members in the community. Last year's festival was at the Hyatt in Reston Town Center and featured celebrities and a very popular fashion show by Jibran. The 2015 Festival will take place at The Fox Chase Manor in Manassas VA on July 16th.
In Australia,the Islamic Community celebrates Chand Raat with other communities and organizes an event called 'Chand Raat Eid Festival (CREF)' The event is open for everyone. People from different communities place stalls in CREF, hundreds and thousands of people attend this event every year. details are available on CREF's website www.chandraat.net .
In the USA, HHMM organizes Chand Raat Mela annually with thousands of gathering in New Jersey and various states. The event is open for public and all cultures.Every year they get more and more crowd. People from different areas come to place their booth/vendor as well as sponsor the program as well as Corporate's come and place their stall such as corporate vendors (New York Life, Western Union, Vonage, Lycamobile, Allvoi and Many More). It is produced by Hasan/Muzzafar Ansari and organized by HHMM. Details are always available on www.NJChandRaa.com