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Boston’s Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr

Islamic community gathers to mark the end of Ramadan

Avery Bleichfeld
Boston’s Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr
A community member pays Zakat al-Fitr before entering the Eid al-Fitr prayer at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center Friday. Zakat al-Fitr is a charitable donation paid by the end of Ramadan to support the poor. PHOTO: AVERY BLEICHFELD

At mosques and other sites across the city, Boston’s Muslim community held annual celebrations of the Eid al-Fitr holiday with prayer and community events to mark the end of the month of Ramadan.

For celebrants, the evening of April 20 into the next day was for spending time with family and community.

“Eid is a very important day for me. It means giving; it means connection with community,” said Mai Ceesay, while waiting at the Islamic Center of Boston Cultural Center (ISBCC) mosque to pray. “There’s this feeling of belonging, with Eid.”

Mai Mouna stands outside of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center during celebrations for Eid al-Fitr. PHOTO: AVERY BLEICHFELD

The Islamic holiday also marked the end of fasting during daylight hours, as well as acts of charity and self-discipline, during Ramadan.

“It makes us remember how important it is, because there are a lot of poor people out there who have nothing to eat and this is how they live every single day, so for those of us who only did it for 29 days, we felt like, ‘Oh my God, we haven’t eaten for 29 days,’” said Mai Mouna outside the ISBCC. “It just makes you appreciate life, it makes you appreciate food even more, it makes you appreciate family and just thank God for everything that he has provided for us.”

Ceesay said the month is also about self-improvement.

“It means coming together and celebrating the monument: a month long of discipline, fasting and doing good, giving to charity, just being the best version of yourself possible,” Ceesay said.

To celebrate the holiday, community members gathered in prayer, as well as held events like a carnival at the ISBCC. They also paid Zakat al-Fitr, a charitable donation collected during Ramadan to support the poor in the community.

Makia Cherif said happiness and fun were on the agenda.

Mouna said she was looking forward to the food.

Abdul Quadir Amiri, who works for the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center collects Zakat al-Fitr, a charitable donation paid by the end of Ramadan to support the poor. PHOTO: AVERY BLEICHFELD

“I remember growing up, back home in Senegal, everyone would look forward to this day. Of course we want to focus on the religious part of it, but to get together and eat as a family, that is, to me, the best part, spending quality time with our family,” Mouna said.

For Sara Hussein, who attended ISBCC for the special holiday prayer, it is a time to spend time with loved ones and community members celebrating.

“It’s where you should celebrate together and gather. It’s like Thanksgiving,” Hussein said. “You should go for meals together, you should talk, not sit around separated. Belonging is the best way I can describe this day.”

For Bostonians, Eid represents a blending of cultures, as Muslims from various countries and communities across the world bring their own traditions to the day.

“Each culture has its own plates and dishes that they even bring into the mosque,” Hussein said. “It’s so beautiful to see that all those people, even outside their home country, still feel this kind of belonging in gathering together outside the daily life of working and hustling around.”

Community members also described it as a time to celebrate their religion.

“Today is a celebration of our community coming together to celebrate our religion and to be more unified,” said Aminata Fofana.

Fatumata Fofana said that the holiday reminded her of the joys of her religion.

“I would like people to know that Islam is a beautiful religion,” she said.

Eid al-Fitr, Muslim community, Ramadan