Dressed in stunning festive garb, Muslims entered Claremont Park in the Mt. Eden section of the Bronx starting early this past Sunday to celebrate the grandest, most historical, and most important Muslim holiday of the year, Eid ul-Fitr.
From sunrise to sunset, Ramadan’s fasting for 30 days is an exercise in self-control, sacrifice and obligation. The day after Ramadan is over is Eid ul-Fitr, the day that Muslims gather in group prayer, recognition of their religion’s obligations and celebration.
Bronx mosques Tajul-Huda and Yankasa reached out to the African Muslim communities, bringing congregants from about 10 local mosques. In the grassy large open space in Claremont Park, more than 1,000 area African Muslims prayed together.
The majority of the West African celebrants were from Ghana, but Nigeria, Togo and francophone Benin and Mali were represented.
Above the hubbub and excitement, community elders gave talks of inspiration and local politicians gave good wishes.
A full afternoon of family day activities followed.
Jallof-yellow fried rice, wachey-rice and black-eyed peas, cooked vegetables with African spices, and barbequed chicken filled the communal food tables for any to partake.
A horse took children for a ride.
By the end of the day at 7:30 p.m., more than 2000 celebrants shared in the good spirits of the day.
Naaimat Muhammed who prays at the Yankasa mosque was on the organizing committee. “We did outreach to the African Muslim communities,” she said, “This was our second year and we couldn’t have asked for a better time. We’re looking forward to next year.”