TORONTO – Thousands of Canadian Muslims are gearing up for `Eid al-Fitr community gatherings and festivals planned in many cities across the country to mark the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan.
“The GTA Eid Festival is in its 28th year and is the largest of its kind in the Toronto region,” Zubair Khan, Media Relations Coordinator of the Muslim Association of Canada told OnIslam.net.
“It attracts thousands of families for the ritual morning congregational prayer, followed by a fun-filled day of carnival rides, shows, a large multicultural bazaar, and delicious food.”
Planning `Eid gatherings, the Muslim Association of Canada (MAC) is organizing a mass prayer in Toronto, expected to attract over 15,000 people at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre for the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
Similar large gatherings are planned in other major Canadian cities.
In the western province of Saskatchewan, the Islamic Association of Saskatchewan will be holding a large Eid event at the Agribition Building, EVRAZ Place in Regina.
Meanwhile, across the country, other Canadian Muslims will be going to their local mosques for the Eid prayers followed by family visitations and community celebrations.
In Newfoundland and Labrador which is the eastern-most province in Canada, the small Muslim community will be observing the Eid prayers at the Muslim Association of Newfoundland and Labrador mosque on Thursday, August 8, followed by a communal dinner and family celebration the next day at a banquet hall.
In other cities, Muslims are opting for outdoor prayers and festivals given the summer season.
In the nation’s capital of Ottawa, AMA Youth is holding the Eid Prayers followed by a family and children’s festival at Greenboro Park, a public park.
`Eid Al-Fitr is one the two main Islamic religious festivals along with `Eid Al-Adha.
After special prayers to mark the day, festivities and merriment start with visits to the homes of friends and relatives.
And while traditionally everyone wears new clothes for `Eid, children look forward to gifts and traditional `ediya (cash).
During `Eid days, families and friends exchange visits to express well wishes and children, wearing new clothes bought especially for `Eid, enjoy going out in parks and open fields.
This year’s gatherings are held under the theme of building a stronger community by empowering all its members.
“The theme of this year’s Eid-ul-Fitr Festival is “Building a Stronger Community,” said Zubair Khan.
“We will address this theme through our sermon and other aspects of the Festival, such as our outreach initiatives.”
“These include our annual food drive partnership with the Daily Bread Food Bank and with other social agencies and community centers throughout the GTA to distribute food packages to low income families,” added Khan.
The Muslim Association of Canada is also aiming to help disadvantaged Muslims celebrate a joyous Eid by sponsoring needy families to attend the festival.
The gatherings date was set on Thursday, August 8, based on announcement made by the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA).
“[The] first day of Shawwal, i.e., Eid-ul-Fitr is Thursday, August 8, insha'Allah,” the group said.
Other Muslim groups are still waiting for the moon sighting on Wednesday evening.
Moon sighting have always been a controversial issue among Muslim countries, and even scholars seem at odds over the issue.
While one group of scholars sees that Muslims in other regions and countries are to follow the same moon sighting as long as these countries share one part of the night, another states that Muslims everywhere should abide by the lunar calendar of Saudi Arabia.
A third, however, disputes both views, arguing that the authority in charge of ascertaining the sighting of the moon in a given country announces the sighting of the new moon, then Muslims in the country should all abide by this.
This usually causes confusion among Muslims, particularly in the West, on observing the dawn-to-dusk fasting and celebrating the `Eid Al-Fitr, which marks the end of fasting.
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