My Brooklyn Eid by Anika Sabree
Eid-ul-Adha is the second of the two religious holidays celebrated by Muslims. It takes place on the 9th day of Dhul Hijja on the Islamic calendar and marks the end of the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. The word Eid itself means recurring happiness and I truly do feel happy when the Eid comes. We get dressed up, come out early to pray together and celebrate for 3 joyous days!
When the Eid falls during the warmer months, at Masjid Abdul Muhsi Khalidah, our celebration takes place outside, in the form of a good old- fashioned Brooklyn summer block party! The street is blocked off, the tents go up and the speakers get set-up outside. We open with prayer and recitation from the Qur'an and the celebration is on! One of the things I love about my community is that when we get dressed up for Eid.... WE GET DRESSED UP FOR EID! The brothers in their African garb or sharp suits and sisters in gorgeous modest, colorful clothing, always make me smile.
Children are whizzing back and forth from the bouncy houses to their families. Man,those babies sure do love those things! They can jump around in them all day, just taking breaks for a hot dog and maybe to check in with their parents. I mean their parents literally have to drag them out of there. I got to see the young girls model their Eid wear as we formed a human runway in the street and cheered them on. It was fabulous!
Now you know it wouldn't be a celebration without some delicious food! Shout-out to our resident kitchen crew because they threw down as usual! Fried fish, chicken, and of course there had to be some lamb, mac & cheese, rice, yams, string beans and carrots and my fave- corn on the cob. There were burgers and hot dogs for the children;red velvet cake and juicy watermelon for dessert. I was proud to see some of our teenagers serving -in their beautiful Eid clothes too - that didn't stop them from working.
After eating, I had my mind on one thing.... Brooklyn summers mean icees and our Eid Block Party had those too, courtesy of Maida Variety. There was a line for the icee cart but that pineapple icee was well worth it! I sat under the huge tent and enjoyed my icee and the weather - which was just perfect for being outdoors. It was nice and sunny with an awesome breeze. That is kind of how I would describe the spirit of the day as well. Just beautiful!
Now, besides the food, the families, and the beautiful garb, there's one more thing that our Eid celebrations are known for and that is our cultural entertainment! We are a masjid that has redefined the term African-American to mean Africans in the Americas - North, South, Central and Caribbean - and it is this representation which makes our celebrations truly unique. I've been told that you just don't see this in other places, so shout out to our resident "DJ T" who always makes sure we have entertainment that reflects who we are and to all the performers as well! We had quite the variety, ranging from the gospel-inspired to calypso, jazz, African drums and rap. And believe me, they had an audience. I looked over at one point and the corner was full. of people from the neighborhood standing there enjoying themselves.
Once the sun is beginning to go down, it's cleanup time and the Celebration must come to an end. The cleanup song comes on and we literally get that block cleaned in like 10 mins before they open up the streets. It's no joke. Brothers and sisters just start picking up chairs and tables and whatever is in the street and we get it done.
Oh yeah, there's a cleanup song.... Just like our Eid Block Party or the calypso As Salaamu Alaikum song or the infamous red juice, It's a Khalifah thing.
Thanks to all that made our celebration possible. All those who donated whether it be money, resources, time or expertise. And to all the workers.. We appreciate you all.
Photo credits: Theda Cly and Eurila Cave for Calli York Photography
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Located in the historic Bedford Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn, Masjid Abdul Muhsi Khalifah has been a key religious and cultural institution in New York City for more than 30 years.
We Would Love to Have You Visit Soon!
Masjid Abdul Muhsi Khalifah
120 Madison St. BK, NY 11216