On Tuesday, August 30, the Muslim community in America celebrated the end of the month-long fast of Ramadan with communal prayers around the country. (Ramadan is the month on the Islamic lunar calendar during which Muslims abstain from food, drink and other sensual pleasures from break of dawn to sunset.)
The prayers mark the beginning of the Eid ul-Fitr (EED-al-FITTER), or “feast of fast breaking” holiday, in which Muslims exchange social visits and seek to strengthen community bonds. During this holiday, Muslims greet each other by saying “Eid mubarak” (EED-moo-BAR-ak), meaning “blessed Eid,” and “taqabbalallah ta’atakum,” or “may God accept your deeds.” Many communities also hold multicultural bazaars and other family activities following the prayers.
The Muslim community of Pelham Parkway celebrated Eid ul Fitr with morning prayers held at the Bronx Park East fields. The ceremonial prayers, organized by the Bronx Muslim Center and the Muslim American Society of New York, drew thousands of worshipers of mainly Middle Eastern descent, but also of Pakistani, African, Bosnian, and Albanian backgrounds.
After the communal prayer, the believers hugged and embraced while wishing each other “may God accept your fasting” and “happy Eid”. Middle Eastern sweets, coffe, and typical sage tea were served as Sami Yusuf Eid songs blared from the loudspeakers. When asked what he appreciated more about such an event, Nehaz from Kosova replied “The diversity of Muslim events such as this is amazing. It’s a wonderful feeling to be amongst your brothers of different nationalities and feel no unease at all.”
After the prayers and the usual visits to close relatives’ houses, many of the believers from Pelham Parkway headed for Playland in Rye, NY, where MAS-NY had organized a full day of Eid festivities for the Muslim community.