EID IN NEW YORK: HOME AWAY FROM HOME

By Fatima Peregrino Brimah, SNDatUN Intern

Fatima EidMuslims observe Ramadan (holy month) as a strict fasting period when Muslims are to restrain from any sexual activities and instead participate in charitable events. This is part of the five pillars of Islam known as the “Zakat”, meaning giving alms to the poor. During this time there are intense prayers throughout the thirty days. Muslims use this period to ask for forgiveness and also for long life and good tidings. At the last quarter of Ramadan, to do well Muslims give donations like rice, oil, chicken, etc., to the needy in order for them to be able to celebrate Eid al-Fitr like everyone else. This donation is known as the “Saddaqah al-Fitr”. Eid al-Fitr is a very important Islamic holiday. On the day of Eid, Muslims gather early in the morning to perform a mass prayer, a special prayer which consists of two rakats (units). It could be in a mosque or an outdoor area. Many Muslims dress in their best outfits on this day. There is a lot of feasting among family and friends on this day. Gifts and greetings are exchanged among family and friends also.

Fatima Eid 2

Years back, Eid in New York was quite boring due to the fact that Muslim holidays were not public holidays. After years went by, with the help of former mayor Bloomberg Muslim communities are now able to pray in public parks with full NYPD security on duty. New mayor de Blasio made it easier for Muslim kids by making both Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha official public school holidays. Ever since, Eid in New York has never been the same. It feels like home away from home. We get to pray and have a picnic after. This involves a lot of merry-making.

Eid GhanaSincerely, “Home is where the heart lies”. Back home in Ghana, after Eid prayers we have a durbar with chiefs in attendance and a lot of horse riding on the streets. This is when chiefs from all tribes meet and pay homage to each other and most importantly pray and wish for better years full of good tidings and good harvest.

[Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha are also United Nations official holidays.]

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