Eid celebrations in Winnipeg bring large-scale Muslim community together



Together in prayer, finally.

After 30 days of fasting, thousands of Muslims gathered Monday morning in the heart of downtown Winnipeg to observe Eid al-Fitr, an Islamic celebration marking the end of Ramadan.

Eid al-Fitr translates from Arabic as “festival of breaking the fast”.

The 2022 event at the RBC Convention Center drew approximately 10,500 people – a jump of 1,500 people from 2019, the last year the venue hosted the event before the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted performances. large-scale gatherings.


MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

The Islamic Association of Manitoba held Eid al-Fitr prayers and celebrations every year at the convention center until the pandemic hit.”/>

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

The Islamic Association of Manitoba held Eid al-Fitr prayers and celebrations every year at the convention center until the pandemic hit.

“It’s been a great year — it’s been amazing,” said Tasneem Vali, vice-president of the Islamic Association of Manitoba. “The community kind of grew during COVID.”

This Eid al-Fitr was very special for Vali. For the first time, she was joined in prayer by her brother and sister – among thousands of others observing their faith – at the local annual event. Vali’s siblings left New Zealand and Dubai, respectively, amid the pandemic.

“You celebrate as a family,” Vali said, adding that after the events of Eid al-Fitr, attendees will often go out for family meals or visit each other to end the day.

The Islamic Association of Manitoba held Eid al-Fitr prayers and celebrations every year at the convention center until the pandemic hit. While Winnipeg mosques resumed in-person worship once the province lifted capacity restrictions, Monday marked the community’s return to large-scale events.

Dozens of volunteers arrived at the RBC Convention Center at 2 a.m. Monday to prepare the space. Tasks included marking rows on the floors so worshipers could pray towards Mecca, setting up a photo booth and organizing gift bags for children.




<p>MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS </p>
<p>Dozens of volunteers arrived at the RBC Convention Center at 2 a.m. Monday to prepare the space.  Tasks included marking rows on the floors so worshipers could pray towards Mecca, setting up a photo booth and organizing gift bags for children.”/>							
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<p>MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS </p>
<p>Dozens of volunteers arrived at the RBC Convention Center at 2 a.m. Monday to prepare the space.  Tasks included marking rows on the floors so worshipers could pray towards Mecca, setting up a photo booth and organizing gift bags for children.</figcaption></figure>
<p>“We couldn’t have done this – at all – without our dedicated volunteers and staff,” Vali said.			</p>
<p>She estimates nearly 150 volunteers have given up their time over the past month to support the association’s Eid food basket program and fundraisers.			</p>
<p>Two prayer sessions were held at the convention center on Monday – the first started at 8:30 a.m. – to give all visitors a chance to participate.  Some guests lined up at 7:45 a.m. to secure their place in the venue, Vali said.			</p>
<p>The space quickly reached capacity for the first prayer.  Devotees came from as far away as Morden, Winkler, Altona and Morris to witness the celebration.			</p>
<p>“It’s the only time everyone meets,” Vali said.			</p>
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<p>MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS </p>
<p>Devotees came from as far away as Morden, Winkler, Altona and Morris to witness the celebration.”/>							
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<figcaption>
<p>MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS  </p>
<p>Devotees came from as far away as Morden, Winkler, Altona and Morris to witness the celebration.</figcaption></figure>
<p>Although this year’s Eid al-Fitr took place on a working morning, turnout was also strong at a scaled-down event in St. Vital.			</p>
<p>“Our turnout was better than we expected,” said Shahzaib Zia, a lead facilitator at Dawat-e-Islami mosques in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.  “We had four prayers instead of the usual two… We had over 500 people, maybe more.”			</p>
<p>The 21-year-old, who joined the first Dawat-e-Islami mosque to open in Manitoba in 2013, led Eid al-Fitr prayers Monday morning in the St. Anne Road hall.  It was Zia’s first time tackling the role.			</p>
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“I was a little nervous at first,” he said.

As with the convention center event, worshipers also traveled to attend Eid al-Fitr from Dawat-e-Islami in Winnipeg. Zia noticed many new faces in the crowd.

“Sometimes people travel to other provinces, so if they have the chance, they stop at our center,” Zia said. “It’s like a whole community.”

Zia and her staff at Dawat-e-Islami Winnipeg are overseeing the creation of a second mosque, which is scheduled to open at 509 St. Mary’s Rd. in the coming months.

A live stream of Eid al-Fitr 2022 at the convention center is available on the Islamic Association of Manitoba YouTube channel.

[email protected]

Katlyn Streilein

Katlyn Streilein
Community journalist

Katlyn Streilein is a reporter/photographer for the Free Press Community Review. She can be reached by phone at 204-697-7132 or by email at [email protected]

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