Thousands of Londoners are gearing up for about a week-long religious celebration, commencing with a morning congregation at Springbank Park Monday.
Eid-ul-Adha, the second and holier celebration of two Islamic holidays during the lunar calendar, marks the end of the annual Islamic pilgrim to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, and commemorates an Abrahamic story of sacrifice.
“It has to do when God had commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son. In the Islamic tradition, both of them were active participants in that act,” said Abd Alfatah Twakkal, Islamic leader at the London Muslim Mosque. “When both of them surrendered and submitted to this command, God rewarded them by sparing the life of Abraham’s son and giving a ram in its place.”
The Festival of Sacrifice commemorates the importance of submission in accordance with God’s will. As a result, Muslims, who are financially able, are required to sacrifice a lamb or other animal and provide food for friends and family, and the less fortunate, checking off charity as another mandatory pillar in Islam, following pilgrimage.
A morning congregation, regularly held at BMO, will see thousands flock to Springbank Park Monday.
Several local businesses are already prepping for the afternoon rush, catering to the traditional family meal as part of the holiday’s festivities.
“There were people all over the place,” said Fatima Fayad, owner of Zataarz, a Middle Eastern all-day breakfast, regarding her first Eid celebration rush early this summer, only seven months into her business. “We get really busy on Eid. It’s very important to have everybody who likes to come here and try different foods, especially the Canadians, Egyptians, Kurds, and all kinds of different people.”
Many traditions follow, including gift swaps, monetary exchanges, house visitations, and dessert making.
Israa Ataya, a Londoner participating in the Eid frenzy, has already dug her fingers in Mamoul, a traditional date cookie made up of semolina, dairy products, dates, and lots of love, she said.
“The process of making (Mamoul) isn’t too complicated but it does take some time so we’ll usually dedicate an afternoon to making these desserts right before Eid,” she said.
Eid-ul-Adha falls on different dates yearly, depending on the commencement of the final month of the Islamic lunar calendar – Dhu al Hijjah.
Where to go:
When: Monday, September 12 8:30 – 10 a.m.
Where: Springbank Park
What: Eid-ul-Adha morning prayers