Eid ul Fitr Celebrated in North America

By A Correspondent
Worshippers at the Hillside Islamic Center in New York on Eif Day. (Pakistan Week photo)
Eid ul Fitr is being celebrated across the United States and Canada. Traditionally Muslims in North America follow three sources for a decision on celebrating Eid. These include local and global moonsighting besides scientific projections about the Shawal moon. The majority of Muslims follow Saudi Arabia in moonsighting and scientific projections.

Millions of American Muslims offered Eid prayers at the nation’s more than 2,000 mosques and Islamic centers. Special arrangements were made for the Eid prayers and entertainment of the families who attended the Eid prayers. Families across the country organized BBQ parties to celebrate the end of Ramadan. Mosques and Islamic centers organized special events for children and offered free food and snacks to worshippers.

Businesses and community organizations organized special Chand Raat melas. Girls got their hands decorated by henna artists on sidewalks in Muslim-dominant neighborhoods in New York and cities across the country.

Shawwal is the tenth month of the lunar-based Islamic calendar, marking the end of Ramadan.

The Fiqh Council of North America announced the Eid Al Fitr date earlier this year, stressing that the Astronomical New Moon is on Thursday, April 20. “On April 20, the elongation is more than 8 degrees and the moon is more than 5 degrees above the sun everywhere in North America. Hence the first day of Shawaal is on Friday, April 21, 2023,” the council said. Manny mosques across the US announced Eid prayers timing a week earlier on Friday, April 14.

Saudi Arabia’s April 20th announcement of the moon sighting made Eid more widely celebrated on Friday, April 21.

In New Jersey and across the US, dozens of public schools have recognized Eid as an official holiday in recent years. Among them is New York City, where the Department of Education has included April 21 as a holiday on its calendar since last year. Houston has become the latest city that has also recognized Eid as a school holiday. According to Houston Independent School District (HISD), Eid has joined Good Friday and Yom Kippur as the only religious holidays recognized by the district aside from those that fall during winter break.

In Dearborn, Michigan, the city’s Lebanese origin Mayor Abdullah Hammoud declared April 21 as a paid public holiday, the first by any city across the US.

“I think it’s time we modeled that, in the city of Dearborn where we are trying to hire an inclusive and diverse workforce, we should be recognizing their holidays and their faith traditions as well,” Hammoud said while announcing the holiday.

Dearborn is known as the Arab capital of North America due to its high density of Lebanese, Syrian, Palestinian, Iraqi and Yemeni communities. Most of the city’s residents and employees are Muslims.

America is home to millions of Muslims. Muslim community organizations put their population number at six million. However, a 2018 study by the Pew Research Center estimates that there are 3.45 million Muslims living in the U.S., or roughly 1.1% of the population. By 2050, that figure is expected to more than double to 8 million.

Pakistan Week wishes its readers a very happy Eid!

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