There are two Eid holidays on the Muslim calendar. The first, known as Eid Al-Fitr is held following the month of Ramadan. The second, known as Eid Al-Adha marks the willingness of Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his own son. The second follows the timing as the haj; a pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia and happens around the end of August. “It just means remembering the sacrifices of our ancestors,” organizer Yasmeena Menon said.

This year, the holiday came on August 31, 2017. It was marked by Milton’s first ever Mendhi night at Home 2 stay.  It was a response to feedback on July’s Eid festival which lasted until 11 p.m. “The women want to sit, and enjoy a longer time,” Menon said. “Husbands do sometimes join. Either they’re shopping around or eating something,” she said. Eid is also a time for exchanging gifts.

It was a bazar in a single room, featuring merchants selling cosmetics, jewellery, and cultural dress. Henna artists lined the hallway outside. The artists draw henna on using black ink, and decorating it with plastic jewels. The ink dries, and flakes off leaving the skin dyed red in the design. It lasts for as long as seven days. Designs are limited only to what can be found on the Internet.

Asifa Ali attended with her friends Tehmeen and Syed Ali. “Everyone in a family gets it from the mom to the granddaughter is getting.” She got it, and her daughter got it. She likes the proximity of the celebration for Milton families. “The community feeling is here. If something is happening in your hometown, you can go and have fun for one or two hours, and then go home,” she described.

Afrah Qureshi attended with her family to have the henna done for prayers the next morning. One of her favourite parts is the unity. “It’s bringing families together. It’s getting to meet your neighbours even inviting them over, feasting with your family. The Mendhi night had a corner selling food. She described it as a time to thankful. “It’s more thanksgiving for a haj that’s completed,” Qureshi said. She know the importance of celebrations like this to building community. “Finding that time together to meet your neighbours and friends, and just getting together. That’s really important to all of us,” she explained.

Photos by: Denise Cooperwhite

Laura Steiner

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