Members of Colgate’s Muslim Student Association (MSA) greeted guests with “Eid Mubarak,” meaning “Happy Eid,” on the night of Friday, November 11 for the annual Eid al-Adha celebration. Students, faculty and members of the local community gathered in Colgate’s Hall of Presidents (HOP) to celebrate the Muslim holiday recognized around the world. The event was organized by Colgate’s MSA in partnership the Muslim Student Association of Hamilton College.
As guests worked their way to the tables, traditional music by artists such as Nancy Arjam and Hashim Abbas played in the background. This set the celebratory and jovial tone for the rest of the event.
Eid al-Adha is a Muslim holiday celebrated globally in remembrance of Abraham’s sacrifice of his son Ishmael in order to earn God’s approval and trust. It is a joyous, happy day full of communal festivities.
The holiday occurs on the tenth day of the last month of the Muslim calendar year, depending on the lunar calendar. This year, it fell on Monday, November 7.
As guests began to settle down into their seats and converse, they were invited to observe the traditional Eid call to prayer. Upon entering the prayer room, guests observed ornate rugs laid out on the floor, as well as six men and one woman dressed in traditional Islamic garb. The prayer consisted of different movements and gestures, including sitting, bending down, kneeling and looking side to side. The Imam stood in front of five men, who stood shoulder to shoulder – a practice which is said to reinforce a sense of community within its participants. The woman had a separate rug and followed along with the prayer.
The purpose of the prayer is to ask for forgiveness, mercy, peace and blessings.
Eid minimizes the disparity between different socio-economic groups in society by reinforcing that sense of community. Each speaker emphasized this sentiment over the course of the night, particularly when students explained how different parts of the world celebrate Eid, such as Bangladesh, Lebanon, South Asia (Pakistan) and Northern Africa (Morocco and Egypt).
The premise of Eid is the same in each community, with some variations in terms of who performs the ritual sacrifice of an animal and what animal is sacrificed, but the shared characteristic of Eid celebrations all over the world is the sense of sharing, charity and community.
Everyone who celebrates Eid sets aside a third of their sacrificed animal for the poor. This sentiment certainly held true in Colgate’s Eid celebration. Students of different ethnic groups came together for all different reasons, whether it was for entertainment, conversation or cultural experience, and made up a unique community.
“My favorite part was hearing Colgate students from different Muslim countries share explanations of how Eid is celebrated where they come from. Also, the comedian was really funny,” first-year Amanda Brown said.
Guests enjoyed the Mediterranean and Indian food, conversation and overall feeling of the event. After the food, comedian Hasan Minhaj, who has been on various television shows including MTV’s Disaster Date and E!’s Chelsea Lately, came to the stage. He entertained the audience with subjects such as Colgate’s appearance and monogamous student body, as well as the strictness of Muslim parents in America. He had the audience rolling with laughter by the end of the night.
“Overall, I was very impressed by the amount and diversity of people who attended. It was great seeing the Colgate community come together to celebrate the holiday and to learn more about the culture of Islam. The night overall was very well run, informative and fun,” Brown said.
Contact Caroline Main at [email protected]