Muslim community celebrates end of Ramadan at The Aud

Waterloo Region’s Muslim community marked the end of Ramadan on Monday with festivities at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium.

Hundreds of people came out to the The Aud to take in the Eid-al-Fitr festival, after a two-year pandemic hiatus.

“We have not had that for the last two years so it’s a blessing that was missed and it’s a blessing that we took for granted for such a long time. When it’s gone, then people start to realize that we need to be grateful. We need to be thankful for the things that we take for granted,” said Imam Mohamed Bendame from the Kitchener Masjid.

This marks the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, where Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset every day, ending the night with prayer.

“When you don’t eat for the whole day, it makes you hungry. And that makes you remember those who are hungry all the time,” said Imam Bendame.

Prayers were held Monday morning. Originally, three time slots were scheduled, but a fourth prayer session had to be added to accommodate the large number of people who attended.

“You can tell the excitement level of the community,” said Bilal Khan, who was celebrating Eid. “Just the fact that they had to do an extra prayer here.”

After prayers, there was a festival which included food, carnival games and other activities.

“It’s so exciting, there’s so many people here. It’s so amazing to see such a big Muslim community,” said Isbah Syed who took in the celebrations.

The festival wrapped up at 4 p.m. Monday.