‘Eid’ was probably my favorite holiday growing up. ‘Eid’ is a religious holiday celebrated by Muslims all over the world. There are two different Eids that are celebrated. The first one is called Eid-al-fitr, also known as the ‘Feast of breaking the fast’, which is celebrated at the end of Ramadan (Islamic month of fasting). The second Eid is called Eid-Al-Adha and today we’ll look closely into its traditions and celebrations at Clark.
Eid-Al-Adha, also known as the ‘Feast of the sacrifice’, closely follows Eid-al-fitr. As mentioned in the Holy Quran, fourteen hundred years ago, Allah (or God) had asked prophet Ibrahim to prove his faith and devotion to Allah by sacrificing his one and only beloved son. Ibrahim was confused when he received this message from Allah but that did not stop him from having faith in his beliefs. After consulting with his son Ishmael, who had readily agreed to give his life as a sacrifice to Allah, they were ready to follow Allah’s command. When Ibrahim was ready to cut his son’s throat he was shocked to see that he was no longer holding Ishmael and was holding a sheep instead. This was Allah’s test to Ibrahim and he had passed with flying colors. Each year Muslims commemorate Ibrahim’s ultimate act of sacrifice on Eid-al-Adha by sacrificing an animal dear to them (usually cows, camels, goats, sheep or camels). The meat from the animal is then cooked for big family dinners, distributed to family members and the poor.
Last week the Clark University Muslim Cultural Society held their annual ‘Eid and Dabke Dinner’ at Tilton and it was absolutely F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S! As every year, the event was beautifully organized and Tilton was decorated with twinkling lights and Arabian lamp centerpieces. With music playing in the background and everyone dressed in their classiest attires, the night began with a short speech from a local Islamic scholar, Sheikh Uthman Khan, who emphasized on the importance of peace and tolerance in Islam. The crowd was very moved to learn the views of Islam presented by the speaker.
As expected, the night continued with mouth-watering Falafels, fried chicken, baklavas and so much more, catered by our local Bay-state bakery, Crown fried chicken and Fantastic Pizza. With the “oh-my-gosh this is delicious” and “this food is Ah-mazing” conservations sweeping in from all corners of the room, the night ended with its final act—Dabke. Dabke is a form of Levantine Arabian folk dance where people hold their hands together and form a circle to dance.
One cannot express in words the kind of excitement and joy that swarmed the room once the Dabke had began. Everyone joined in the circle, which slowly kept growing, and danced their hearts away to the upbeat middle-eastern music. As I looked at everyone’s glowing happy faces from across the room, the festive-Eid-mood had finally hit me! Back home, in Bangladesh, Eid is a time of family traditions and local festivities—a time when everyone gives up their regrets and disappointments and feels grateful for all that they have. Every year, my relatives from all over the city would join my family and I for a special Eid lunch cooked by my mother—an old tradition my Nani (grandmother) started which my mother continued after my Nani passed away. I also remember helping my parents distribute pounds of meat to the homeless families living near us.
Eid is a time for families coming together and communities growing stronger, and I was very humbled to see the same happening here at Clark during the MCS’s dinner that night. It was truly wonderful to experience Eid at my home-away-from-home the same way I did at home. Kudos to MCS for a very successful Eid full of sophistication, deliciousness, warmth and fun!