On Saturday, the Muslim community in Aotearoa celebrated Eid Al-Fitr, a religious celebration marking the end of Ramadan.
Like Ramadan, Eid begins with the first sighting of the new moon.
This year’s celebration was a little bit more special as the day finally fell on a weekend.
Following a month of fasting from sunrise to sunset, thousands of people from the Muslim community in Tāmaki Makaurau gathered to celebrate NZ Eid Day at Mt Smart Stadium.
From clothes and food, to community and connections, Re: News spoke to people at the event about what celebrating Eid means in Aotearoa.
Hayat and Leena
Hayat: The build up for the Eid ‘fit is extra exciting because it’s a day when we wear our best clothes.
This is my first proper time wearing hijab out in public so I wanted my ‘fit to be extra special.
Fashion has always been a way for me to express myself and now the hijab has given me a new way of doing that, with an outward identity as a Muslim. Kind of like a flag of how proud I am to be Muslim.
Dhanun and Rahman
Dhanun: It’s nice to see the community after the floods, especially seeing community members I helped and checking how they’re doing now. It’s a good moment of intimacy between people of different yet also similar backgrounds.
Rahman: I’m wearing a nice traditional Sudanese jalabeya. I think it’s a nice opportunity to re-indigenise myself.
Clothes are a very important part of our culture. My dad and my brothers and I went for coffee in a very pākehā area. I think we should be able to dress in our traditional clothes and be ourselves.
Eid is so important that we’ll always make time for it. You’re fasting the whole month, everyone wants to have that first coffee with someone they love.
I prayed at my local mosque originally but came here after because it’s like an enclave for our Sudanese community.
Eid is when I disconnect from everything else, spend time with my family and enjoy my day.
You can really feel the spirit of Eid here. Knowing that everyone else just did that whole month of fasting, I have something to really bond over with strangers here. It feels nice to know I’m not alone.
Being in New Zealand, you can feel like a foreigner, so it’s nice to know that once a year you can be here with all these other Muslims.
I’m wearing traditional Kurdish clothing. We have many forms and this is a simple one, even though it’s so extra. I only wear it for special occasions and I don’t have many of those, so Eid is the only time I get to wear it.
Nouh, Elyas and Omar
Omar: I’m wearing a galabeya today; it’s my first time wearing one. I’m wearing it because Nouh got it for me last time he went to Egypt.
I like how nice everyone smells on Eid, the smell of oud is everywhere.
I’m not Muslim myself but I come from a Christian background. My classmate’s family is Muslim and I wanted to know more about Eid as well, so here I am.
It’s such a beautiful event, there’s a lot going on and everyone is just enjoying themselves and living their best life. I love the strong sense of community you can feel.
I’m wearing this outfit my friend had at home that she got from Pakistan and it honestly makes me feel really pretty. The colour is bright and gorgeous and I love how good I feel in it.
As Muslims, we’re supposed to look good every day, but on Eid, especially, we get new clothes.
This was a last minute ‘fit to be honest, but I always try to come prepared for Eid.
It’s so different celebrating here than back home. We’re surrounded by non-Muslims most of the time here so it’s nice to come and be around other Muslims.
Ayham & Hana
Hana: Welcome to Eid! This is our place to celebrate and really thrive as a Muslim community, especially after all our hard work in Ramadan.
It feels weird to finally be eating during the day again, but there’s no better place to be for that right now than here.
Ayham: There are people I know that I only see when I come to this event. We don’t talk or even organise seeing each other, we just know - I’ll see you on Eid. It’s a great environment to maintain those connections.
Everyone looks their best - just look at Hana.
Mariam and Khadija*
Khadija: My sister got my outfit for me as a gift from Dubai. I usually go for a darker coloured abaya, but this Eid I decided to go for something different and brighter. Me and [Mariam] accidentally matched today.
Mariam: We only get twice a year to get this dressed up with all our best clothes, so we have to be extra. It’s like the Muslim Met Gala.
*Names have been changed
“More than any other time of day, our connection with God is a lot higher during that time.”
“I was brought up on a story about my country that wasn’t true.”
You might have noticed the use of karakia in public meetings keeps making headlines recently.