I write to applaud the Guyanese Muslim community in Queens for their observance of the holy month of Ramadan.
In spite of many challenges, the community maintain their culture and live in harmony with their Hindu brethren. The community also had a joyous Eid celebration.
The holiday celebration in Richmond Hill had all the markings of the celebration in Guyana – prayers, alms, distribution of vermicelli, sirni, etc. The tradition in NY was similar to that back home.
I remember that while growing up in Guyana, the non-Muslim youths looked forward for the holidays because Muslims used to distribute buckets of vermicelli to their neighbours.
The tradition is carried over to NY. The community should be applauded for maintaining their culture in America.
The Eid festivities marked the end of the pious observance of Rojah. Guyanese Muslims flocked to their Masjids at dusk.
The Al Abidin Mosque on Liberty Avenue and the Jama Masjid on Atlantic Avenue as well as several other jamats where Guyanese worshipped were packed with throngs of worshippers.
Taxi drivers stopped by the masjid as well as many individuals coming from work to break their daylight fast.
The Eid celebration began early Wednesday morning with ablutions and prayers at the mosques which were outfitted with tent extensions to accommodate the large crowds.
The building was brightly decorated with trimmings and multi-coloured lights, seen during X-Mas and Diwali festivals. Many Muslim families also decorated their homes for the festival.
The kinds of meals prepared are similar to those in Guyana. Unlike in Guyana, Eid was not an official holiday in NY. However, NYC accorded recognition to the celebration by suspending parking rules for two days. Islamic students and staff are usually excused from school or work (without pay).
But the holiday coincided with the Jewish New Year which is a school holiday in NY. All of the Muslim owned businesses were closed to mark the holiday. Most Muslims also took the day from work.
In NY, the different nationalities observed Eid with variations. For example, South Asian nationals celebrate Eid for three days whereas Guyanese observed the event for one day.
My Bangladesh students took three days off from classes whereas Guyanese students were back to class on Thursday. Everyone seemed to have had a wonderful time during the festival.
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