Students and community members gathered together to celebrate Eid–al-Fitr, the Festival of Breaking the Fast. The celebration took place from the evening of Monday, June 2 to the evening of Tuesday, June 3.
Eid-al-Fitr is one of two Eids celebrated, both Islamic holidays. The second Eid is Eid-al-Adha, which happens later in the year. Eid-al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan, which is a time of fasting.
“Eid is a Muslim holiday and there is two Eids in Islam,” said Khamis Siam, professor of chemistry. “One is following Ramadan, which is a monthlong of fasting, and that is called Eid al-Fitr. And we have another Eid, which comes after the pilgrimage, which is about two months and 10 days after Eid al-Fitr … and that’s called Eid of sacrifice, Eid al-Adha, and this is when people sacrifice lambs in honor of Abraham when he was ordered to sacrifice his son.”
Siam was part of the Eid-al-Fitr celebration that took place in Pittsburg. He explained how Eid-al-Fitr is typically celebrated, saying it starts early in the morning and is filled with loved ones.
“Eid-al-Fitr starts out the day, so right after the sunrise, people go to mosques all over the world and they pray the Eid prayer … and then there is a sermon following the Eid prayer,” Siam said. “And then after that, people congratulate each other on the Eid, and then typically many people go right after that and they go out to the cemeteries to visit their relatives. Then families and friends visit each other that day.”
Siam said the festival in Pittsburg was celebrated in a similar manner as the rest of the world.
“Generally speaking, there is a big lunch, dinner, that is served where people eat lamb and goat,” he said. “And in Pittsburg we celebrated it the same way; we did not go to cemeteries, but we had a get-together where we prayed Eid and then we had few sweets and drinks, and then later that day we had a big lunch.”
Gulfira Alin, sophomore in psychology, was also included in the Pittsburg Eid-al-Fitr celebration. She said during Eid-al-Fitr they “just enjoy the moment.”
“So Eid back home is more relative with friends and then what we do, in the morning the guys will go to mosque and they pray for Eid,” Alin said. “… Then when they come back, we have breakfast and lunch together with the family and then we’ll go to elders’ house, after that we’ll visit relatives, and we will spend the whole day with them. And for young adults, we usually go to visit our friends and spend the day with them and just enjoy the moment with them.”
Alin said the celebration was “different here” as compared to her home celebration.
“And here, what I had this time celebrating Eid, is we get together with people around the states and then, it felt just like home even though we had people we’d never met before,” she said.” “… I was really enjoying the people, just surrounded by so many people, we’re talking about the same language, we know what is going on. It was just so precious time with them together and then it was just such a good opportunity here in the U.S. to celebrate Eid just like we had it back at home. So that was the difference for me.”
Siam said there were a total of 25 Muslims who participated in the Eid-al-Fitr celebration, consisting of both Pittsburg residents and students. Though, the number of those who participate has decreased over the years.
“Five years ago we had about 300 Saudi students, almost, with their families and stuff, so it was really much bigger. Then we had a lot of children, so we rent … play toys, like arcade games and stuff like that. Then as the number of Saudi students was diminished … we are just now down to a few students and they’re from all nationalities, they’re not just Saudis, and then were three or four residents of Pittsburg who work here.”
For Siam, he enjoyed this year’s Ramadan and Eid-al-fitr.
“Ramadan was very easy this year, nice; the weather was good,” he said. “Although the days were long, we would fast from 4:30 in the morning until 8:30 at night, so it’s a 16-hour fast where you don’t eat any food, you don’t have any drink—nothing goes through—and it was relatively easy this year. And then Eid was also good.”