Indo Caribbean New Yorkers Celebrate Eid

Indo-Caribbean Muslims celebrated Eid ul fitr on Tuesday June 4 with prayers and a feast. Indo-Caribbeans have brought time honored traditions to New York and other parts of USA and Canada. Islam was brought to the Caribbean by Indians from India during the indenturedship period (1838-1917).

Indo Caribbean New Yorkers Celebrate Eid

Indo-Caribbean Muslims celebrated Eid ul fitr on Tuesday June 4 with prayers and a feast. Indo-Caribbeans have brought time honored traditions to New York and other parts of USA and Canada. Islam was brought to the Caribbean by Indians from India during the indenturedship period (1838-1917). From the Caribbean, Indians brought Islamic cultural practices to the US that are now institutionalized in New York and other parts of the country.

Eid was observed by New Yorkers on Tuesday ending the month long period of fasting for Ramadan (Ramzan or Rojah in the Caribbean) with the sighting of the new crescent moon on Monday night.  The preceding month was a period of restraint and self-control as Muslims fasted. Eid is a day of kindness and charitable giving and thousands attended service to mark the occasion on a bright cool windy morning in New York. There was a lot of enthusiasm and ambience. The Eid festival was infused with a festive zest among the celebrants. The masjids and homes of Muslims were festooned with green flags, balloons, and posters. The nights in Richmond Hill during Ramadan saw homes in dazzling colorful, mostly green hues and bright neons.

 Liberty Avenue bubbled with business activities with the celebration.  The place is festooned with decorations. Green balloons were seen around tents at some homes. Bakewell on 127 Street and Liberty distributed snacks and hot coffee to passersby on the occasion of Eid.

Fasting for Muslims during the month of Ramadan, which began on evening of May 5, is one of the pillars of Islam as revealed by the Prophet Muhammad in the holy book Quoran. The Koran says Muslims should fast because it improves heir health and gives a sense of devotion to God. Every evening, Muslims, men dressed in white attire and females in beautiful shalwars or querishis or hijabs or other outfits, were seen hustling to get to the mosque after work for prayers and the breaking of the fast. As the imams explained, Ramadan does a lot of good to a person, mentally and physically. And the ending of Rojah, known as Eid, is a time for celebration, thanksgiving and remembrance. It is a time to get together in a brotherly and joyous atmosphere to offer gratitude to the creator for having helped them fulfill their spiritual obligations.

In Richmond Hill, hundreds attended prayers on the final evening of fasting Monday night and thousands attended service Tuesday morning for the Eid celebration. Streets were closed off around the Masjids in Richmond Hill to accommodate worshippers who gathered in the streets to offer Salaat or namaz.

The Al Abidin Masjid on 127 Street, Liberty Avenue, the largest among the Guyanese mosques, had over a thousand people. Jama Masjid was also packed to capacity. The street in front of the mosques were closed to facilitate the congregants who were well dressed in new traditional attire. Worshippers were seen praying with their footwear removed; loudspeakers blared prayers (dohas) in Arabic and Urdu and translated into English. Women prayed inside the mosque separate from the males.

Special meals were prepared and served to the congregation at the breaking of the fast on Monday night and early Tuesday morning right after prayers.  Congregants were seen consuming vamazally (sawine) and dates and socializing. Celebrants were basking in the festive spirit. They hugged and embraced and wished each other Eid Mubarak. Muslims also exchanged gifts and cards. Many donated to the less fortunate.

 It is the tradition among Indians to share sweets to neighbors.

Worshippers also offered zakat (donations) to various funds (construction, foundations) and to the imams and the poor.

In New York, Eid is a relaxing day for Muslims who will gather at various parks for a day of entertainment. Members will also gather at homes of relatives and friends for lunch and dinner. It is a day for cancellation of parking regulations to facilitate celebrants and a school holiday. The homes and businesses of Muslims were seen brightly lit up Monday night with the crescent sign and colorful flickering lights.

Eid Mubarak!