Carol Anne Smock editor in chief
People who practice the Islam faith around the world celebrated the end of Ramadan, a 30-day period of fasting, last week with the Eid al-Fitr holiday, a time to celebrate faith and family. Despite being thousands of miles from their home country of China, two PSU students joined the celebration in the U.S. in solidarity with their loved ones and the entire Muslim community.
Dilara Maihemuti, undeclared freshman, and Gulifeila Alimu, freshman in psychology, grew up together as neighbors in China and traveled together to Pitt State in the spring of 2017 to participate in the Intensive English Program. They are finishing up the program this summer and will enroll as full-time students in their respective majors this fall. Because of summer classes, they were unable to be with their families this Eid, but they said they were able to celebrate with friends.
“There is a family who lives in Joplin and we went to their house to have this atmosphere together, we were just gathering and it was dancing, it was fun,” Alimu said. “… I find it similar with Thanksgiving, like the atmosphere, people share good things with each other.”
Even though they were not able to partake in usual celebratory traditions this year, Maihemuti and Alimu said they typically celebrate the holiday with family.
“It’s basically gathering with families, so my grandmother lives a few blocks away, so sometimes we go to her, and sometimes we have relatives to visit,” Alimu said. “It’s basically for gathering, we go to visit our neighbors since we know each other and friends; we just love this gathering and this atmosphere.”
In addition to time spent with loved ones, Eid inspires generosity and service.
“I think it is a very fantastic festival, so we will be so happy, and then there are good things, for example who is rich or has money they will give money for the poor people and share their dinner for their neighbors, and we give a lot of good things for people,” Maihemuti said.
Traditionally, men and women participate in different preparations for Eid—in the morning the men usually pray at the mosque while the women begin cooking preparations for the festivities.
“… The first day the guys in the family will go to the mosque and pray, and therefore for girls we usually prepare everything,” Alimu said. “… We prepare before the Eid for a few days, even sometimes for a week, basically the mother they will cook some traditional food, like cookies, for us to set up the table, and then the first day we see as really important. We will go to our grandmother’s or grandfather’s house to visit them and cook for them, and then the second and third day we will visit some friends, our neighbors, and for children they will dress up new like a full new dress and the parents will give money for their children, and we will give a very fancy table and eat, and everyone is very happy in that moment.”
Maihemuti said that while Eid is an important and joyous holiday, she cherishes all aspects of her faith and encourages others to discover more about the Islam religion and traditions.
“Islam is very quiet and very kind of a good religion, so I suppose if other people want to understand more about Eid celebration I would love to explain to them, because I love my religion,” Maihemuti said.