Chaand Raat: Harvard’s Night of the Moon

Category Student Voices

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Hana Rehman Portrait Hana Rehman
Hana Rehman Class of '25
Authored on May 07, 2024

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Chaand Raat, also known as the Night of the Moon, is a cherished celebration observed on the final day of Ramadan, marking the eve of Eid-al-Fitr. 

This cultural tradition, deeply rooted in South Asian heritage, is a joyous occasion where loved ones gather to sight the new moon, indicating the arrival of Eid. 

Once the moon is spotted, festivities ensue, accompanied by delicious feasts, intricate mehndi (henna) designs and shopping sprees. 

In Pakistan, markets buzz with activity late into the night as families and friends gather to secure last-minute essentials for Eid from vibrant bangles to stylish shoes. Meanwhile, households come alive with the aroma of delicious food and the bright decorations lighting up their home.   

On campus, the Harvard College Pakistani Students Association (HCPSA) orchestrates a Chaand Raat celebration for the Muslim community and their friends! This year, the group collaborated with the Harvard graduate schools to host an even larger event bringing together over three hundred people to the venue. 

Hana Rehman and her friends at Chaand Raat.
Hana Rehman and her friends at Chaand Raat, wearing cultural clothes. 

The event commenced with a collective Maghrib prayer before everyone broke their last fast of Ramadan.  

Students pray maghrib prayer before breaking fast.
Students complete the Maghrib prayer before breaking fast on the last day of Ramadan.

Then, students on the executive board of HCPSA served food to the attendees of the event. There was a wide range of Pakistani food, including vegetarian and vegan options. Some of the delicious food included lamb kabuli pulo, chicken tikka, beef kebab, palak paneer, chicken karahi, channa masala and gulab jamun! 

Students serve other students food for Chaand Raat.
Students serve each other delicious Pakistani food!
Students eating food at Chaand Raat.
Students enjoy Pakistani food at the venue for Chaand Raat. 

While people were eating, attendees also had the opportunity to visit the stalls offering mehndi (henna) designs and purchase some dazzling churiya (bangles).  

Students get henna designs on their hands.
Students smile as they show their mehndi (henna) at the event. 

As the night unfolded, guests gathered to witness a series of captivating perfomances, ranging from Urdu shayari (poetry) to the melodies of qawwali music. 

Student performing at Chaand Raat.
Audience members at Chaand Raat watch a student performer. 

Qawalli, a form of Sufi devotional singing, ignited spirits as participants joined in, clapping and singing along in unison with the musicians and singers leading the act. At the end of their performance, everyone rose to their feet and danced together to end the night. 

A Qawalli group is performing at Chaand Raat.
Students at Chaand Raat sing and clap along to the songs performed by a Qawalli group. 

As festivities drew to a close, laughter filled the air as attendees captured memories of the night with their friends. With hearts full of anticipation, everyone heads home ready for another day filled with fun — Eid! 

Hana Rehman and her friends at Chaand Raat.
Hana Rehman and her friends at Chaand Raat!

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  • Student Life

Hana Rehman Class of '25

Hi everyone! My name is Hana and I am a senior studying the History of Science and Government with a citation in French.

Hana Rehman Portrait