Muslims in Metro Vancouver prepare to celebrate Eid al-Fitr after month-long Ramadan fast
Celebration of Eid involves prayer, exchanging treats and delicious food
After fasting from dawn to dusk for the past month, Muslims around the world are preparing for Eid al-Fitr.
The celebration marks the end of Ramadan, a pillar of Islam that makes it compulsory to fast for those who can in a healthy way, and a time of spiritual reflection and reconnection with the faith.
Eid, which honours the sacrifice made during fasting, starts with a morning congregational prayer often held in mosques.
In Metro Vancouver, prayers are also held in open spaces like Newton Athletic Park in Surrey or Minoru Park in Richmond.
Ramadan can last 29 or 30 days, with the end of the fasting month determined by the new moon.
That means that this year in Metro Vancouver, Eid will fall on either June 4 or 5.
As per tradition, mosques will make the announcement on the date of Eid on the 29th night of the fast, which is Monday, June 3.
'A time to be grateful for the life we live'
Eid is celebrated differently depending on a person's cultural background, but many will spend the day gathering with family and friends and exchanging gifts.
Eid al-Fitr translates as "the festival of breaking of the fast" and food is a big part of the day, with large spreads of delicious treats.
"Eid is truly a celebration and a time to be grateful for the life we live, our family and community," says Haroon Khan with Jamia Masjid, Vancouver's oldest mosque.
"It's a good time to visit family and embrace them with a lot of joy that you've been able to get through this month together."
Muslims will greet one another with the phrase "Eid Mubarak," which means you are offering blessings.
"Eid is all about community, seeing folks who we might not see otherwise, it's a time for us to share memories and make new ones," says Ayesha Khan, a Muslim from Langley, B.C.
'God's completed message'
Beyond the celebration, the festival is about remembering the spiritual reconnection to one's faith.
"It's a celebration of God's completed message, but within this whole month we practise what the rest of the year should be like," says Raqiya Mohammed, who is also from Langley.
Everyone is encouraged to join in the fun, whether you follow the faith or not.
"Regardless of where you are, who you know, share your holidays with everybody — it adds to the day. I do it at work every year," says Mohammed.