First, Dear Reader, I would like to wish you Eid Mubarak. Did you reach home in time for Eid? Did you manage to buy the new clothes and bring with you all the expected gifts? Did you find everyone at home in good shape and in good spirit? I am sure, all were happy to see you, and you them. Then the holiday can be welcomed. I hope the holy month of Ramazan was what it was meant to be, this year and every year. And may Eidul Fitr bring peace, love and all the other things that should be there - giving you strength and good memories when you after the holidays return to long days of work and chores, progress and success, not forgetting either, those who struggle to make a living, those who have bad health, and those who have existential problems. Ramazan gives everyone in Pakistan and elsewhere a break from the daily routine. The holy month of fasting, for the many who do fast, is not always easy. It is meant to give compassion for others. It is meant to give time to reflect and pray. And, very important, it is meant to give joy in sharing with others, feasting, every evening at iftar, and have pleasant conversations and see the beauty in life, especially our spiritual life. I have had the opportunity to celebrate Ramazan and Eid in Pakistan for many years now. The first time was in December, about 10 years ago, when Ramazan and the pre-Christmas month after Thanksgiving coincided. As a Christian, Ramazan and iftar reminded me of so many pre-Christmas traditions. I found it, indeed, pleasant. As the season of Ramazan gets closer to mid-summer, and the days become longer, the resemblance of Christmas time, for a Norwegian like me, gets more difficult to find. But then, I have also celebrated Christmas in East Africa, with weather similar to what we have in Pakistan this time. Yes, I have been there so many times during Christmas that I almost feel that it is the time of the year when the summer should begin, not at all remembering that we are all dream of a white Christmas, as the popular tune claims. Let me again wish you Eid Mubarak. But this time I would not only extend the wish to Muslims, but also to Christians, Hindus, Sikhs and others, to those who are strong believers, and those who are not. In a country like Pakistan, in any country, it is important that the major holidays on the religious cum secular calendar are for everyone. But not everyone can be included in the Muslim feasts, you may say, or the Christian feasts? I say, they can and should. During Ramazan and on Eid, we all become a bit Muslim, I would say. In connection with Christmas, I have observed that Muslims in Pakistan, and in Kenya and Tanzania, where I have lived, and in Norway, where I was borne, love the preparations and decorations related to Christmas. These are only ornaments, not the substance, of course, but just under that top layer, we quickly find substance. And I know for a fact that people of any belief can relate to Christmas, the same way that I know that any person of faith can relate to Ramazan and Eid, especially the way that the holy month and its climax is observed in Pakistan. A few years ago, the Norwegian Ambassador to Pakistan gave a speech that I will draw attention to. That time it was H.E. Mrs Aud Marit Wiig. She was the first woman in the post, but the next one, Cecilie Landsverk, will arrive in two weeks. Ambassador Aud Marit focused her speech to the Norwegians in the land on the importance of reaching home for Christmas. I think a woman can more clearly do that than a man or, than many men. It is the women everywhere in the world, who prepares the home for the religious feasts, with food and parties, getting the children included, getting the old and weak to sit with the others, remembering to send greetings to distant relatives, and include those who are lonely. We men have to admit that women are better at this than men often are. And we also have to admit that this part of religious feast is, indeed, very important. As a matter of fact, it is the traditions that help carry religion from one generation to the next. We all complain about the religious feasts being commercialised. That goes for Christmas, of course, and it goes for Eidul Fitr, too. Shopkeepers make a major proportion of their annual profit just during the couple of weeks before Eid. I dont think this is wrong. I think it gives focus to the feast. We buy new clothes. We want to feel different and renewed. We buy gifts and we receive gifts. For adults, it is most important to give gifts, not to receive, but we, too, feel glad when we are remembered and offered good wishes. Needless to say, no religious feast can take place without special food dishes and rules for how to organise gatherings. Women know how to do all this. Yes, obviously, with the support of men, because in most places in the world, including Pakistan, the men keep the strings to the purse. But you have noticed that the strings are loser before Eid and Christmas A Danish author has written a beautiful play called Babettes Feast, underlining the importance of inclusiveness and equality. A woman inherited a large sum of money, or was it that she had always had the money, but kept it secret? The people in the little Danish village where the French woman Babette lived, were so happy for her, and impressed, too, I think. They had a rich woman among them They talked about how entirely different her life would be. She would become like the princesses and fine ladies in the city. She would not have to work or do anything anymore. However, Babette had her own thoughts. The play, which has also been made into film, is about that, about how Babette involved everyone in preparing for the huge party in the village. There was no limit to the extravagance. The party was held, the celebrations took place - and, then, everyday life returned. Babettes friends and neighbours began to wonder why she was still living in her old house, in the same village, with her refugee friend. She and her friend had lived ordinary lives, given up romance and not sought fortune. Babette seemed not to be in a hurry to move out and up. Then it turned out that she had spent all the money on the feast, Babettes Feast, including everyone. Now, after the party, she was again the same as all the others. She was again part of the village life, living like everyone else. Babette did not want to be separate. She wanted to be included in the daily life of everyone else. She did not want to be a lonely, rich lady in the city. What a beautiful story What a great woman True, she was a bit wasteful, and it was not a good investment. She could have bought a big Land Cruiser, an expensive mobile phone, and new laptop, even if nobody else had such things around her. Maybe a man, especially a young man, would have done that? Babettes Feast was written by Karen Blixen, or Isak Dinesen, as she used as a penname. She is one of Denmarks finest authors from the second half of the last century. She also wrote Out of Africa, a novel, which has been made into a beautiful film about Kenya and the life among settlers and locals. Both books are, perhaps, as much about Karen Blixen herself, a unique Danish woman who spent the best part of her life in Kenya. A large area of the capital Nairobi is named after her to this very day, and she is talked about with respect among ordinary people, and, obviously, foreigners. Conclusion: We are all the same in the eyes of God. The dogma in the many faiths varies. But the golden rule is always the same: Do unto others what you want others to do unto you. And in the end, when the final accounts will be evaluated, we will be asked what we did: Did we feed the hungry, cloth the naked, care for the sick, and teach Gods message? I trust you can answer in the affirmative. And then, I will go and search my soul. I will ask God for forgiveness and ask that I too may be on the right path. The writer is a senior Norwegian social scientist based in Islamabad. He has served as United Nations Specialist in the United States, as well as various countries in Africa and Asia. He has also spent a decade dealing with the Afghan refugee crisis and university education in Pakistan. Email: