PEI

Celebrating Eid al-Adha in P.E.I.

The P.E.I. Muslim community is coming together to celebrate Eid al-Adha, a major holiday that's known as the feast of the sacrifice.

'There's a lot of nostalgia, thinking about their family and homes back where they came from'

A woman hands out sweets for Eid al-Adha celebrations at a mosque in Charlottetown. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

The P.E.I. Muslim community is coming together to celebrate Eid al-Adha this weekend, a major holiday that's known as the feast of the sacrifice.

"Today is a very special day for the Muslim community here," said Zain Esseghaier, spokesperson for the Muslim Society of P.E.I.

Esseghaier said Eid al-Adha commemorates "the ultimate sacrifice" of the prophet Ibrahim who was willing to give up his own son.

He said Muslims honour that sacrifice by making one of their own, usually a goat or a cow, that they divide into three parts and share with their friends, family and those in need.

​The celebrations begin after the end of the hajj, an annual pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia — one of the main pillars of Islam which every able-bodied Muslim is required to undertake at least once.

Generally, those who aren't on the pilgrimage come together locally to celebrate the event.

Celebrating away from home

The day began with morning prayers at a local mosque in Charlottetown, followed by celebrations and a potluck feast for dinner.

Esseghaier said many newcomers are celebrating Eid in P.E.I. for the first time this year.

"For those who have only been here for a year or so, there's a lot of nostalgia, thinking about their family and homes back where they came from," he said. "There's always some reminiscing back home."

Brothers, eight-year-old Abdallah Daas and eleven-year-old Mohammad moved to P.E.I. just over a year ago from Dubai. This is their second time celebrating Eid al-Adha on the Island. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

Eight-year-old Abdallah Daas and his 11-year-old brother Mohammad moved to P.E.I. last year with their family from Dubai.

"Here, a small amount of people are celebrating so it feels like you are closer to everybody," said Mohammad. "It's really a good tradition to celebrate with friends and it's really fun."

Adballah said he's happy to be celebrating Eid in his new home.

"We have fun. We have a better future," he said.

'During periods of trials, we have to be patient'

Esseghaier said for him, the day is about remembering the importance of sacrifice.

"In this life, we're being tested all the time," he said. 

"It reminds that during periods of trials, we have to be patient, we have to be perseverant and we have to look forward to the future and be hopeful."

With files from Sara Fraser

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