This year was hands-down the most amazing ‘Eid celebration ever.
We spent the entire day at a unique initiative put on by the Muslim Association of Canada — an Eid festival with carnival rides, bazaar, and for the first time (possibly EVER in Ontario) fireworks! Hundreds of volunteers worked for months to make sure that thousands of Muslims in the greater Toronto area had a spectacular Canadian ‘Eid.
We met up with friends and family while Eryn spent hours jumping on bouncy castles. Not only was it fun for the kids, but not once did I feel excluded from any of the religious rights. Praying outside made sure that men and women had equal and shared space. I mean, we were still in the back, but it sure beat praying in a separate room, locked in an enclosed space with kids hyped up on pixie stixs. Once the prayer was over, the lines between the sections blurred and people just did their thing wherever they wanted. It was extremely relaxed and particularly wonderful to pray without a barrier in my face (like last year in Kuwait).
Later we had good food, stopped at another mosque to pray, and then headed home to freshen up and watch The Sound of Music before coming back for the sunset prayer and fireworks.
What made the day great outside of the festivities was the extra effort to accommodate everyone as much as possible. An American Sign Language interpreter conveyed the khutbah and dedicated volunteers headed an accessibility initiative to help increase access for all. There was a break-out space for women who wanted to nurse in private. And instead of kicking us out of the prayer area to make room for more men (which happens frequently in other contexts), women were asked to increase their rows, while men were told to wait outside while the congregation prayed maghrib together in the small gymnasium. Honestly, in twelve years of being Muslim, I have never seen this happen.
It was these small details that really made the day special for all of us and made me feel like we were really part of the larger Muslim community. We always attend the MAC eid festival, but there was something extra wonderful about today. Perhaps it was because it’s Ivy’s first ‘Eid, and Eryn is old enough now to get excited and join in the fun. Regardless, they now have wonderful memories that will insha’Allah help them become grounded as Canadian Muslims.
A huge thank you to the Muslim Association of Canada and the volunteers that made today a truly great celebration.