LAHORE – Economical and fast means of communication have seriously affected the tradition of sending Eid cards, which were once considered the best way to share greetings with friends and family.

The beautiful tradition has been replaced by alternative means of communication such as text messages, emails and social networking websites, including Facebook and Twitter. Moreover, people also exchange Eid greetings through cable television channels.

Shopkeepers, who still display a variety of Eid cards to attract customers, complain about a decline in the business while printers, who used to print only such cards, have no work because of a lack of demand.

As a result, the number of stalls selling these cards has been visibly reduced in City markets. Only a few Eid cards stalls and shops are running this business in the Urdu Bazaar that was once the hub of this business.

The new trends have also deprived the Postal Department of a source of revenue. About a decade ago, the department used to make special arrangements for distributing Eid cards but now mailing Eid cards has almost become history. However, some private companies are still keeping this tradition alive.

Talking about the fading tradition, Mohsin Butt, a printer in the Urdu Bazaar, said: “Not even a single reason is left to sell Eid cards. People have lost their interest and opted for sharing greetings through electronic means.” He said the world had become a global village after the information technology revolution and the people’s viewpoints had been influenced by modern communication gadgets.

Butt, however, said this revolution could not affect the sale of Valentine’s Day cards. “Printers now focus on Valentine’s Day and New Year cards instead of Eid cards,” he maintained.

Abdul Majid Khalifa, a proprietor of a stationery shop, said the tradition had become part of history. “The sale of Eid cards has been decreased by about 90 per cent in the past five years. Once, we used to earn well from Eid cards since people of all age groups showed a great interest in them,” Khalifa said. He believes cell phones are largely responsible for changing this trend.

Aziz Ahmed, who has been working at a shop in the Urdu Bazaar for the last decade, said the shopkeepers were reluctant to deal in Eid cards because it was no longer a lucrative business. Many companies and printers had closed down their businesses, he added.

“Why should I purchase a Rs50 Eid card? I have my cell phone and laptop to greet my friends and relatives on Eid,” said a youngster roaming across the Anarkali Bazaar. According to him, Facebook is the best network to share messages on such events.