Eid Mubarak!

Bassam Tariq resides in New York City. He is the co-author of the blog 30 Mosques which celebrated the NYC mosques during the blessed Islamic month of Ramadan. He is also an ad writer at Saatchi. Don't worry, if he were you, he'd also change the channel when his ads come on.


Eid Mubarak everyone! (Happy Eid)

The Islamic month of Ramadan ended on Saturday evening. The new month in the Islamic calendar starts with the sighting of the new moon. I remember being a kid in Pakistan and climbing our rooftop to see if the new moon was out. If we didn't see it on the 29th day of Ramadan, we'd fast for another day and declare the first of Shawwal (the name of the next month) the day after. Kind of confusing at first, but its more so based on a communal decision than an 8 year old Bassam's sighting.

The sighting of the new moon marks the beginning of the next Islamic month, Shawwal, and the Eid-ul Fitr celebration.

Eid means festivity in Arabic and Fitr means breaking of the fast and so the holiday symbolizes the breaking of the fasting period. In fact, the first day of Eid is the only day it is forbidden to fast. As the myth I heard growing up went, "the devil fasts on Eid! Do you want to fast with the devil?"

Most of my family is in Houston and I wanted to spend the last days of Ramadan, as well as Eid ul Fitr with them. So I packed my bags and left New York on Thursday night.

Most families get up early on Eid to catch the morning prayer. It's not an obligatory prayer, but more of a way for the community to come together in celebration. In Houston, the Islamic Society of Greater Houston rents out the George R. Brown Convention Center and convenes the largest gathering of Muslims in Texas. Somewhere in Houston, Tom Delay is cringing. 

We blocked a whole road as we entered and exited the convention center.

We pray towards Makkah and that's why we're all heading in that direction. Notice the rolls of paper laid out for the prayer. 

Yes, more of us. Since I was in the men's section I couldn't get many photos of the women. Plus, it'd be a little awkward for an young Muslim man to barge into the women's area and start taking photos. There is a certain distance that the genders tend to keep with each other. Or, well, at least in these gatherings. 


After the prayer ends, the Eid hugs begin. The Eid hugs are pretty distinct from normal hugs, you huge on the right side, then the left, and then the right again. Yes, we're so happy to eat again we hug not once, twice, but three times. 

The rest of the day is spent visiting family and friends. We had a lot of guests over our small house. Being the youngest in my family, 22, I am responsible for entertaining all the kids that come. I thought of talking to them about the importance of keeping a good GPA and taking the SATs. But I hadn't touched my X-Box in over a year and wanted to kick some ass in Marvel v Capcom 2, their education could wait.