As Muslims across Pakistan prepare to celebrate the birth of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in the month of Rabiul Awwal, the customary enthusiasm for the occasion has been overshadowed by the relentless rise in inflation.
Traditionally, homes and mosques would be adorned with brilliant lights during this sacred month. However, this year, the cost of electric multicolour lights has surged, dampening the festive spirit. Local shopkeepers have witnessed significant price hikes, discouraging customers from embellishing their homes with lights. Some have opted for more budget-friendly alternatives, such as small colourful flags.
According to a market survey, decorative lights are now up to 500% more expensive, leading to a shift towards more affordable Chinese lights, which offer vibrant displays despite their smaller size. Chinese light vendors have emerged in various markets across Rawalpindi, creating captivating night-time scenes.
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While traditional light decorators charge exorbitant prices, Chinese lights are available at more reasonable rates, with simple bundle lights priced at Rs200, colourful lights at Rs250, and intricately designed lamps at Rs350. Various fire bulbs with designs like peacocks and lions range from Rs500 to Rs1,000. Despite their fragility and limited lifespan, these Chinese lights have gained popularity due to affordability.
Traders and shopkeepers’ associations acknowledge the challenges faced by ordinary citizens due to high inflation. However, they remain committed to adorning markets and public spaces to celebrate the birth of the Holy Prophet.
Citizens have called for measures to curb this artificial price hike, especially during Eid Miladun Nabi, suggesting that the prices of colourful lights should remain stable. They point out that government buildings are adorned with public funds during the celebrations and suggest similar consideration for the common people devoted to celebrating Eid Miladun Nabi.
Local light decorator Fahim acknowledged the price hike but attributed it to the country’s poor economic situation. Despite the challenges, people are still hiring lights for three days of festivities, demonstrating their determination to celebrate the birth of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him).