Thursday was my first Eid at Rotman. Muslims celebrate Eid-ul-Azha on the 10th of Zil-Hajj (the 12th and final month of the Islamic calendar). The festival culminates the holy pilgrimage- Hajj which is performed on the 8th, 9th and 10th of Zil-Hajj. Muslim pilgrims from all over the world gather in Makkah to perform the pilgrimage. This year around 3 million Muslims went to Makah for Hajj. Hajj brings Muslims from all over the world together. The rites of Hajj go back to Prophet Ibrahim (Also commonly known as Prophet Abraham). On the day of Eid-ul-Azha Muslims from all over the world celebrate by sacrificing animals. By Islamic tradition, 1/3rd of the meat of the slaughtered animal is distributed to the needy, 1/3rd is distributed to relatives and the remaining 1/3rd is kept by the family.
Eid in Pakistan starts with Eid prayers in the morning followed by the sacrificing of animals. My family from all over the country would gather at our house in Lahore and we would call a butcher who spent all morning and afternoon sacrificing the animals and cutting the meat into parts. The afternoon is spent cooking the meat followed by a family lunch. We spent the evening going to relative’s house and distributing meat to them. During the evening meat is also distributed to the needy so that they can also take part in the Eid festivities. It is believed that on the day of Eid no one should be left out and everyone should have meat in their house. Eid lasts for 3 days and in Muslim countries, the 3 days of Eid are a national holiday.
When I was at McGill, I was an active member of the Muslim Student Association and being a part of MSA always gave me a sense of community and hence I never felt lonely at Eid. MSA always hosted an EId namaz (prayer) in the morning, right before classes and there was an Eid dinner, usually on the weekend closest to Eid. Although Eid was not the same as it was at home but it was fun nonetheless celebrating Eid with my fellow Muslims.
The Muslim Student Association at U of T also organized an Eid namaz on the day of Eid at Hart House. MSA is also hosting a bunch of activities to ensure that students who are away from families and loved ones at this occasion are able to celebrate Eid. There is a henna night for girls on 1st October and on 2nd October MSA is hosting an Eid dinner. I still have to get my Eid dinner ticket. I am eagerly looking forward to Eid celebrations with my fellow U of T Muslims. There is no better way I would want to spend the last Friday night before Foundation Term finals begin.