One of the most joyous days in the Islamic calendar is the holiday Eid al-Fitr. Festival of breaking the fast marks the end of Ramadan. For more than a billion Muslims around the world—including some 8 million in North America—Ramadan is a “month of blessing” marked by prayer, fasting, and giving to charity. Ramadan focuses on self-sacrifice and devotion to God.
Muslims generally read an entire chapter of the Qur’an each day (it has 30 chapters) so they read the entire book in one month. It is often compared to being a mini boot-camp in which we arm ourselves with knowledge by reading the Qur’an and getting physically fit by modifying the diet, increasing good deeds, and committing more and greater acts of worship.
By fasting we become more sympathetic to those less fortunate than ourselves because we feel what it is like to go without food or drink. It also helps to bring us together with family, friends, and neighbors as we break our fasts together. It brings us closer as a community and to God by offering more worship such as taraweeh prayers (extra prayer services offered nightly in Ramadan).
In contrast to the devoted calm of the 30 days of Ramadan observance, Eid al-Fitr is marked by joyful happiness. Once the celebration begins, it continues for up to three days. This is a time for Muslim families to share their good fortune with others. The joy of giving is immense as we wrap toys for the kids, prepare food baskets for the needy and spread smiles and good cheer.
A sense of generosity and gratitude colors these festivities. Although charity and good deeds are always important in Islam, they have special significance at the end of Ramadan. As the month draws to a close, Muslims are obligated to share their blessings by feeding the poor and making monetary contributions (zakath) to the less fortunate and to mosques.
Similar to getting new clothes for Easter Sunday and eating the finest meals, Muslims wear new clothing and decorate their hands with henna, gifts and party bags are wrapped to share with children, delicious food is cooked.
And similar to Christmas, everyone gives children toys, gifts or money called Eidi.
June 14, 2018, marked the last day of Ramadan for Muslims around the world. The festival signals the end of the fasting and is the most important holiday in the Islamic lunar calendar. The holiday lasts three days spent overbooked with parties, meals and gifts at the homes of friends and family.
The day starts with Eid prayer. We gathered early in the morning at the Prime Osborne Convention Center to perform the Eid prayers with thousands of Jacksonville Muslims.
The prayer consists of a sermon followed by a short congregational prayer. Watch video below captured at Osborne Convention Center.
We are gathered by people from various countries around the world, which is visually represented in their attire: Nigerians wearing intricate headwear mingle with Bosnian women in beautiful dresses alongside Indians and Pakistanis adorned with colorful shalwar kurthas.
Beautiful mother and baby boy in traditional islamic clothing.
This young girl is all smiles after receiving so many goodies in her basket.
These two were the most adorable girls dressed in colorful Rajasthani dresses.
Eid prayers at Prime Osborne Convention Center.
Thousands of Muslims gathered for Eid prayers, the Imam urged everyone to continue their good deeds throughout the year.
After the completion of prayers we greeted one another with hugs and “Eid Mubarak” which means “Have a blessed Celebration!”
Friends and Family attend Fun Celebrations
After the Eid prayer, we go visit with family and friends, give gifts to children, and make phone calls to distant relatives to give well-wishes for the holiday.
Since our family is in Chicago, we called them and wished Eid Mubarak! These are the times we miss our family the most.
Have a couple of parties this weekend, first stop was an “Eid Milan Party” at the Jacksonville Public Library.
Some of our dear friends hosted this AMAZING Eid Party! What a gorgeous venue, loved everything about this 33,000 square feet largest library! If you get a chance, stop on by and take a tour of the Main Library. The building is full of beautiful paintings, exhibits, sculptures and interesting architecture.
Watch the YouTube video below with hightlights from the party and the library gardens and architecture. Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel JaxVeganCouple.com
All the Jacksonville community friends were invited for the gathering and celebration with food, hugs and well wishes! Pictured below with the kindest, most amazing hosts: Talat, Sheema and Mahrukh. Love their beautiful, colorful indian/pakistani outfits.
Eid Milan Brunch at the massive Main Library in the heart of downtown Jacksonville is a gem. Decor done by Wedding Bells by Tahira Baloch.
The 300,000 square foot structure fills the better part of a city block, and is the largest public library in the state of Florida.
The garden courtyard with reflection pool, fountains and palm trees is a secret oasis.
The Betsy Lovett Courtyard on the 2nd floor is an oasis in the middle of the city. It can be easy to miss, even for those who stop in to check out a novel or log on to the library’s computers.
The open space is framed by surrounding downtown buildings, shaded with palm trees and anchored by a reflecting pool with fountains.
Everyone was so happy and joyous adorned in their beautiful, colorful ethnic clothing kurtha pajamas. The rest of the weekend was full of parties and Eid celebration parties with wonderful friends.
Another Exquisite Eid party celebration at Dr. and Mrs. Kani’s residence in Queens Harbor Country Club.
Stealing a moment with baby Z and this gorgeous view.
Snacking on this yummy dish called Bhel Puri with chickpeas, onions and samosas with tangy tamarind chutney.
Loved watching the sunset while enjoying the evening catching-up with friends by the water.
What a celebration from this gorgeous view, to fabulous friends & food, watching the sunset, eating a delicious indian dinner under the stars and listening to old Bollywood tunes. It was a magical night!
Traditional Childhood Favorite Foods for Eid
Ever since I was a child I remember the special dishes my mom made the night before in preparation for Eid morning. She would make a rice dish called khichdi, which I have perfected over the years with tomato chutney and a very special exotic, dessert called Sheer Khorma. It is my favorite DESSERT! Sheer Khorma, literally means “milk with dates” in India, it is a dessert made with vermicelli, non-dairy milk, nuts, raisins and dates. I could eat bowls of this sweet, warm, soft vermicilli melt in your mouth dessert.
Here’s the recipe to my healthier version of Sheer Khorma.
In every shared smile and laughter,
In every prayer answered,
In every opportunity that comes your way,
May God bless you greatly.
Eid Mubarak to all our dear family & friends!