Eid-ul-Fitr in the city of OttawaWritten by Sana Syed
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In marking the end of Ramadan, women fill their hands with intricate henna designs and men gather to site the moon. As Eid approaches, Muslims all over Ottawa flock to local mosques to perform Eid prayers. Eid-ul-fitr (annual celebration "of the feast", marking the end of Ramadan), being one of the three main holidays for Muslims, is one of the happiest days for us after observing the holy month of Ramadan. It is a day of cheerfulness, in which embracing one another and wishing, “Eid Mubarak (congratulations)” to each other become traditional greetings. Whether it be a day of exchanging sweets and feasting on meals, or simply reuniting with family, Eid is a time of forgiveness, fellowship and unity; a time of giving and sharing.
How are Ottawans celebrating Eid this year?
“I intend to be spending time with my family, relatives, and friends. It is a wonderful way to commemorate the end of a blessed month!”
“By thanking God, who gave me strength to fast during this Ramadan, and giving zakaat (a fixed percentage of a Muslim's wealth which must be donated to the poor/community each year) in the name of God to people who deserve it.”
“I usually spend it with family but, as I am away from home, I plan to have fun with friends as they are my family away from home. Three days of just food, fun, and adventure.”
“I will be celebrating the end of Ramadan this year, as I do every year, by celebrating with family, relatives, and friends on Eid.”
“I intend to pass the end of Ramadan with my mother, have a small family dinner, and call my family overseas to wish them happiness and prosperity for the future.”
“The Eid prayers are very special to me because I not only feel spiritually connected, but I also feel the immense sisterhood and brotherhood from the Muslim community. Not even jummah (Friday worship service) prayers can exhibit the sheer number of people and love that the Eid prayers bring.”
“I am planning on celebrating the end of Ramadan by praying more vigorously and trying to devote more time to deen (religion), as well as remembering the less fortunate, thanking Allah for all the blessings being bestowed upon me and my family, and helping the people in need as much as I can. Especially on Eid, we should remember the less fortunate and needy, as that is the true spirit of Ramadan and Eid, physical and spiritual cleansing, helping others, letting go of one's desire, patience, and self sacrifice.”
-Athif Ali Khan
As the days go by faster towards the end of Ramadan, there is also excitement in town for Chaand Raat (the night before Eid). Sana Qureshi has been hosting an all-girls Chaand Raat event for the past two years, “because for the past 12 years that I have been in Ottawa, I felt that the community was split between Ottawa East and West. I wanted to host an event that would unite all the girls in Ottawa, considering how small the community is as it is and alhamdullilah (all praise is due to God), the attendance is growing every year. The first year alone, we had 200 women attend and last year, we had about 250,” stated Sana Qureshi. Speaking from experience, last year's attendance hit the hall capacity and the event managed to raise $1, 500 for the flood victims of Pakistan. The hype of this annual event has spread throughout Ottawa like fire, and it has definitely become the talk of the town!
Along with the many open houses, festivals, and events going on around Eid, Canada Pakistan Association (CPA) also celebrates Eid with a free event called “Salaam Pakistan”. The purpose of this event is to unite the community; be it small children, parents, seniors, or students, everyone is welcome. With close to 1500 attendees at CPA's “Eid Milan” event, which took place last year, CPA hopes to gather an even larger crowd this year.
While we celebrate this joyous occasion, we must not forget to thank Allah for all that He has given us. Even this Eid, there are still many suffering all around the world, and we are truly blessed to be given the opportunity to share this time of the year with family and friend and all that we have. Last year's Eid we witnessed the suffering of the Pakistani flood victims. This year, it is tragic to see Somalia's famine victims. While you give generously towards the end of Ramadan and on Eid, do not just donate, save a life!
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