After a difficult last year, American Muslims have been able to gather in masses for the first time in over a year and celebrate `Eid Al-Fitr, the feast marking the end of Ramadan.
In Connecticut, members of the Al Hedaya Islamic Center community in Newtown gathered for Eid prayer, rejoicing with their friends and families.
“We, as Muslims, want to make sure we understand what it’s like for people who don’t have food. It teaches us to be compassionate and empathetic,” Mariam Azeez told New Haven Register.
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Many expressed great joy in finally seeing the faces of their friends after difficult last year which saw no `Eid prayers.
“Even if we have to social distance and wear masks, we still get to come together as a community and celebrate because that’s what `Eid Al-Fitr is about. It’s all about togetherness and inclusion,” the 14-year-old Azeez said.
Muslims worldwide celebrated `Eid Al-Fitr, which crowns the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, on Thursday, May 13.
`Eid Al-Fitr is one the two main Islamic religious festivals along with `Eid Al-Adha.
After special prayers to mark the day, festivities and merriment start with visits to the homes of friends and relatives.
Five Prayer Services
In New York, the Islamic Center of Rochester held five separate prayer services Thursday morning to safely celebrate `Eid Al-Fitr.
In past years, before the pandemic, about 4,000 Muslims from the Rochester area would celebrate Eid Al-Fitr at the Dome Arena in Henrietta.
“I remember last year only the clergy was here and he was broadcasting over Facebook,” Abu Islam, the vice-chair of the Islamic Center of Rochester’s Council of Trustees, told Spectrum Local News.
“We were all in our living room following him and compared to that, just being able to come here and meet the community is a blessing by itself.”
The prayer service is especially important for Muslim students in the University of Rochester, making them feel a little closer to home.
“I was really isolated last time,” said Klotoum Kromah, whose family is in Guinea and New Jersey.
“It felt like I needed to protect myself, stay isolated…but it feels good to be back. It feels good to be around people. Share the same joy at the same time. Love, be around so much love.”
In Bergen County, thousands of mask-wearing worshippers were finally able to reunite and pray together.