As the rain took a day off and the sun shone bright, Muslims marked the Cheriya Perunnaal festival on Sunday with mid-morning mass prayers, feasts, and visits to friends and relatives.

The clear weather right from the morning set the tone for the celebrations and the Muslim faithful poured onto roads and opens spaces in the city.

End of fasting

The customary ‘Perunnaal namaskaaram,’ the mass prayers, were held at Jawaharlal Nehru stadium at Kaloor, Marine Drive and at several playgrounds and mosques in the city. Thousands of people, including women and children donning new garments, attended the prayers.

Cheriya Perunnaal (Id-ul-Fitr in Arabic) comes at the close of the holy month of Ramzan when the faithful observe dawn-to-dusk fasting and offer prayers at mosques and at homes. The Cheriya Perunnaal is celebrated for three days, though the first day is the most important.

Ahead of the Perunnaal, prices of vegetables, fruits, meat, eggs and fish had gone up. The prices of rice, sugar, ghee and a whole lot of food items too had risen, thus taking the shine off the celebration for a large number of working class Muslims.

High airline fares

Most airlines had jacked up their fares to cash in on the Perunnaal rush from the Gulf countries. The fare hike was, in some cases, more than 100 per cent. This made it difficult for thousands of Keralites working in the Gulf on low wages to celebrate the festival with their families at home.

Many of them have dropped their plans to fly home in time for the festival. And many others have postponed their travels home by two to three weeks as they anticipate a drastic fall in the airfare.

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