Eid al-Fitr: Student traditions

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For many students, summer signifies ice cream runs after school or the return of the long, sweltering runs on the track. However, for others, this means fasting long hours, and eagerly waiting for sunset to arrive. Many Muslim Harrisities chose to observe the holy month of Ramadan which entails fasting for a period of the day for thirty days. The month ends with a celebration called Eid al-Fitr.

This year, for the first time in a while, all of Ramadan occurred while school was in session; and for many Muslim students, this meant fasting the entire month while in school. Fasting entails abstaining from food and water from dawn to sunset, lasting about seventeen hours. It is also a time during which many Muslims devote themselves to their religion by praying during the night at the Mosque and seeking spiritual gains. Junior Afeefah Anwar explained that, due to the timings of starting and ending the fast, her sleep schedule was thrown off. Despite this, she stated, “But I wouldn’t have it messed up for any other reason than Ramadan.” Junior Sumayyah Fara added, “I fasted during school days, and it honestly wasn’t a problem. It did mess up my sleep schedule, but it was worth it.”

Additionally, many students faced challenges with completing graded runs ahead of time or fasting during major examinations. “Fasting and running sounds frightening and it’s even more gruesome while doing it,” explained sophomore Farhana Ratree. “I get weaker as the day ends just by walking up the six flights of stairs, so running during this time makes me feel like I’ve wasted my energy.”

“Eid al Fitr” is Arabic for “the festival of breaking the fast” during which Muslims celebrate the end of the holy month of Ramadan with loved ones. “Eid is the day we celebrate our accomplishments this month with friends and family,” Afeefah said. “It’s a day of unity for me and one of the only days in the year I can be careless and actually enjoy myself.”

“Eid for me is a time of celebration where all of my family members link up and have a lit time,” added sophomore Asad Sheikh. “I really do love going to Eid prayer with my friends and my dad and I like how our mosque does the prayer on the street.”

Many students explained that after the morning prayer, they go to food gatherings, dress up, and simply spend the day having a good time surrounded by friends and family. In many families, a common gift given to children is money, which is a tradition, according to junior Subaita Almobin. “A memory of mine was when I had a total of $500 at the end of Eid. It was a successful year,” Subaita recalled.

This year, students across NYC received the day off to honor the holiday. Many students were ecstatic to hear the school closing on Eid. Asad said, “I feel good that we got a day off on Eid because we don’t need to skip work or school.[It] is quite helpful.”

“The fact that we have been granted the day off from school during Eid is huge accomplishment in our society,” said Sumayyah. “Eid is finally being acknowledged as an important holiday, a religious observance, as are other religious events.”