After a month of fasting, thousands of Australian Muslims gathered in Christchurch on Sunday for the South Island’s largest ever `Eid celebration.
The free event was organized by Christchurch-based charity Asturlab Cultural Center and included music, henna painting, children’s entertainment, and food stalls.
Sisters Narges and Yekta Ghorbani, two Iranian sisters who live in Christchurch, were present to celebrate feast, Stuff reported.
“As Muslims we wanted to come along,” said Narges. “It’s a very special time for Muslims.”
The event wasn’t limited to Muslims only as Sudanese non-Muslim courier driver Daniel Teklay was also present and enjoyed the “beautiful” event.
“There’s a lot of people, a lot of food, music, it’s good,” Teklay said.
`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.
Australia celebrated `Eid Al-Fitr on Saturday, April 22, marking the end of Ramadan.
In Canberra, Muslims also came together to pray, feast, and celebrate end of the month Ramadan with special `Eid prayer at Canberra’s mosques and at Taqwa School in Moncrief..
“I think it gives the message not only to fast and to pray, but also to how to feel about the community and the Muslim community who are hungry around the world,” Islamic Association of the ACT president Dr. Abdul Hakim said, Canberra Times reported.
Like many Muslim families, Maryam Hassan made sure to bring her three children to the mosque to catch up with friends after her favorite time of year.
“Every year we just wait for this month because we can see the community coming together. We can celebrate Ramadan, we can go to Mosque, we can pray all together and it’s a very good experience,” Hassan said.
“You can see the harmony. [The children] all wait for this day because they also get a little token of money.”
Hassan’s daughter, Mishaal, 17, was wearing a new outfit specially for `Eid, while her hands were painted in henna.
“I think it’s good to spend time with family and friends, time to come together and reflect on yourself. It’s time for you to better yourself,” she said.
Islam in Australia is a minority religious affiliation. According to the 2021 Census in Australia, the combined number of people who self-identified as Muslims in Australia, from all forms of Islam, constituted 813,392 people, or 3.2% of the total Australian population.
That total Muslim population makes Islam, in all its denominations and sects, the second largest religious grouping in Australia, after all denominations of Christianity.