People participate in Eid al-Fitr prayers May 13, 2021, in Overpeck County Park in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey. (© Seth Wenig/AP Images)
After a month of fasting for Ramadan, Muslim Americans enjoy the Eid holiday with family, friends and — finally — food during daylight hours.
Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the United States. The number of mosques in the United States is also increasing, with nearly 3,000 across the country, according to the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding. The states with the largest number of mosques are:
- New York, 343.
- California, 304.
- Texas, 224.
- Fla., 157.
- New Jersey, 141.
Many of the millions of Muslim Americans who live in the United States gather for special prayers and feasts to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan.
For Behar Godani and Usra Ghazi, members of the Mosaic Muslim Federal Employee Association in Washington, favorite Eid traditions center around family and friends.
“Every year, my family and I head over to our local mosque in Virginia for Eid prayer,” Godani told ShareAmerica. “It’s really beautiful to always see so many different people and cultures come together in celebration and to see all of the beautiful traditional clothing. There’s always lots of smiling faces and kids running around, so it’s quite a lively environment.”
Ghazi recalls Eid memories during childhood and admits that she loved receiving the traditional “eidi” or “eidiyyah” gift of money from her parents. As she has gotten older, “it is really the opportunity to see friends and family that I love the most.”
Eslah Attar, a photographer, describes her family’s annual ritual this way in an interview with NPR: “It’s a quarter past 2 am My siblings and I are standing in an assembly line in the sunroom of our Ohio home, preparing falafel sandwiches … We are preparing these for morning Eid prayer, and we will pass them out to worshipers … It’s become an annual family tradition, and though the work is tiring, we feel rewarded.”
Beyond enjoying and sharing family recipes, Muslim Americans look forward to wearing new clothes on Eid. Fashion designers like Melanie Elturk, Lena Aljahim and Ainara Medina offer special Eid collections. They are among a rising and thriving group of Muslim-American business owners. To reduce carbon footprints, for example, their brands offer chiffon hijabs made from recycled plastic bottles and woven ones made of renewable bamboo.
“From an Islamic perspective, we are entrusted to take care of the Earth and to look after it, and that means to be obviously environmentally conscious and not harm the environment and subsequently all the beings that live on it,” Medina says. Aljahim adds that sustainability and ethical practices are important always “and especially during Eid.”