By SADAF AYAZ
For the first time, Muslims from the East Hills school district came together at Antun’s by Minar, an event venue in Hicksville, Long Island, on September 23rd to celebrate Eid-ul-Adha.
Eid-ul-Adha is an Islamic holiday that commemorates the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim to follow Allah’s command to sacrifice his son. This festival follows the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Makkah called Hajj, which Muslims are required to perform at least once in their lives, provided they are able to do so.
The event was organized by Muslim Women of East Hills to celebrate the Muslim community’s success in getting approval for a school district-wide holiday break for both Eid-ul-Adha and Eid-ul-Fitr.
Before this, many students spent the holiday in school, afraid of the penalties of missed homework deadlines and tests.
At 5 P.M. that Saturday, Muslims families from different cultural backgrounds strolled into the classy venue in their best party outfits. While most of the attendees were South Asian, some Middle-Eastern, Asian, and Black and White Muslims were also present.
Women came in wearing traditional clothing consisting of bright colored lehngas (a conventional long skirt with a short top), shalwar kameez (a long top with pants), and saris (a skirt with a long cloth wrapped around the length of their bodies). Several girls and women also opted to wear intricately designed abayas (a loose robe-like dress) and American dresses.
Men, in general, came in two-piece suits while some also wore traditional menswear from their cultures, like shalwar kameez (a long top with pants) or jilbabs (a long one-piece garment similar to an abaya).
Because the purpose of the event was for families within the school district to meet each other and celebrate Eid, several entertainment segments were planned for families to enjoy including a magician, a comedian, and a clown.
Several families took pictures in front of the elegant off-white and gold background of the hall. Several teenagers hung around the front of the venue where a small garden of flowers surrounds a small fountain.
To keep up with the varying tastes of the attendees a mix of South Asian, Italian, and Chinese food was served.
Tastes from all spectrums were present through the savory flavor of a famous South Asian appetizer samosa chaat (a popular Indian spicy snack made of peas, potatoes, and other vegetables) and finger foods like sweet chicken strips and salty spring rolls were served for appetizers.
Guests then had a broad variety of complex tastes in dishes like Biryani (a South Asian mixed rice dish), to boiled and fried rice with different types of vegetable salans (curried chili peppers) with naan bread. However, it was the sesame chicken that took the cake with its both Chinese and South Asian taste.
For dessert traditional Pakistani kheer (rice pudding) and rasmalai (often described as a sweet cheesecake without a crust).
With the variety of tastes in food, clothing, and music, the evening represented the diversity and unity within Muslims of East Hills and victory they were able to bring together. Without a doubt, it was an Eid party to remember.