Hundreds gather in Saskatoon to celebrate Eid Al-Adha

Prairieland Park saw hundreds of Saskatoon’s Muslims gather to celebrate Eid al-Adha, also known as the “Feast of Sacrifice.”

“We are absolutely thrilled that this year we could, finally after so long, come back together as a community and really celebrate Eid the way that we know it's meant to be celebrated, which is together,” said Mueez Rafiquie, media, communications, and outreach representative with the Islamic Association of Saskatchewan (IAS).

Eid Al-Adha is one of two Eid celebrations held annually. Eid al-Fitr, the “Festival of Breaking the Fast,” takes place from May 2 to May 3.

The previous three Eid celebrations have either been canceled or faced major adjustments as gatherings have been limited throughout the pandemic.

“The IAS, as well as other faith communities, have been diligent in following the public health guidelines set out by our Federal and Provincial Governments,” Rafiquie said.

“Because of that unfortunately in the past we have either had to cancel this Eid prayer all-together or hold it in extremely limited capacities in accordance to those public guidelines at the time.”

Mayor Charlie Clark and Police Chief Troy Cooper attended to offer their greetings and well wishes just before the prayers began.

Organizers said they are extra grateful for the work Dr. Saqib Shahab did to get the province to a place where Eid could be held once again without restrictions.

“We want to give a special congratulations and thanks to Dr. Shahab for treating the pandemic and giving us the guidance that we needed in order to get back here today,” Rafiquie said.

“We have a special thanks to give to him. It’s because of the decisions from people like him in power that today we’re able to come back and celebrate Eid in this fashion.”

A BLESSED FEAST

With his excitement to see things back to normal during Eid al-Adha, Rafiquie wanted to offer his best wishes to people around the world celebrating Eid and wish for an end to the pandemic for everyone.

“I think the only thing that is left to add is to say Eid Mubarak (blessed feast) to all the Muslims not only in Saskatoon but across Canada and the world,” Rafiquie told CTV.

“I know in many parts of the world we are still facing lots of lockdowns, and we know the fight against Covid isn’t over. We give our prayers and thoughts to those still struggling, and we hope that in the near future we’re all able to celebrate these days once again the way that we’re lucky enough to celebrate today.”

Henry Davis and his friend Mark were two of the many in attendance at Prairieland for Eid. Davis said getting back to a place where he could celebrate Eid the same way he always had meant a lot.

“It was a good experience after the pandemic. Coming back from the pandemic we couldn’t pray together. It was nice praying with everybody, it’s a nice experience,” Davis said.

“I’m really used to it, I grew up praying with everyone together. I want to wish everybody an Eid Mubarak all around the world.”

Tauseeq Aziz, another attendee, was also thrilled to be back at a proper gathering after three very different Eid celebrations.

“This is absolutely fun and it’s amazing and all of us are excited, especially after this crucial pandemic season,” Aziz said.

“Eid day in the Muslim community is always one of the greatest events we have, especially the Eid al-Adha. We cannot express our feelings enough after the pandemic.”

Aziz said there has been a lot of anticipation leading up to Eid al-Adha, knowing he could finally see his community in person, giving out hugs and handshakes as he greeted those around him.

“We have been waiting for this day. Once again, in the pandemic situation, we were looking for opportunities where all of us could come together and hug our loved ones. That is something we were really missing. This specific Eid is going to be one memorable day,” Aziz said.

Aziz’s friend Muhammad Adil shares the feeling of excitement as he just left the gathering inside of Prairieland.

“We can celebrate our traditional event after the pandemic and we really enjoyed it and loved it.”