Natureman and I were honored to be invited again to celebrate the end of Ramadan and breaking of the fast with our Muslim community. This time we met in the smaller of the Copeland Park pavilions making it a bit more intimate.
The smaller crowd and setting made it easier to share tables with people one didn’t know. Throughout the evening at our table were Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Syria and India. Not only did we learn about what brought these folks to our community but a little about their cultures and professions. You could say we broke naan with the Iman of La Crosse because we did. Abdullah-Aziz informed us that names with Abdullah are followed/ preceded with adjectives describing the Servant of Allah.
We were welcomed by members of the Muslim community and also a familiar face, Megan Grinde, a representative from the La Crosse Interfaith Shoulder to Shoulder Network (LISSN) which continues working with community businesses with its campaign of ‘Hate Has No Business Here’ to eliminate Islamophobia and fight racism in any form. Megan extended the community’s appreciation of being invited to share Eid Mubarak.
Sheera Saleem(l) described Ramadan with familiar words like fasting, self sacrifice, the right path, piety and righteousness with the gates of heaven opening and the gates closing after asking for forgiveness. Phrases like people of the book, protecting the weak and prayer for everyone, hopes for peace and prosperity, getting rid of bigotry, racism as we join together in faith and respect. Ramadan becomes less alien once we learn what it is and realize there are more similarities than differences in our own religious practices. After Ms. Saleem’s explanation, it was time to break the fast… Although our hosts had been the ones fasting, they insisted that we, their guests, go first.
The delicious buffet line was laden with Middle Eastern salads, naan flat bread, hot sauce, savory tomato based stews of vegetables/ chicken /chunks of meat. As trays emptied they were replaced and many attendees at the night’s end returned home with leftovers.
The was something for everyone in the buffet lines and I found it humorous the kids had their choice of pizzas but adults also helped make those disappear too.
Desserts were numerous as usual with a mixture of chocolate cake, sheet cake, cup cakes & cookies which the children could decorate, powdered sugar butter pastries, custard like cake and my favorite samei made of vermicelli, sugar, milk and flour!
Guests enjoyed being together with old and new friends to celebrate and share their holiday.
Besides the children’s talent show, the kids had a bouncy house to enjoy this year.
Many took advantage of the special frame for photo ops. We were no exception.
As Natureman and I helped with cleanup it allowed us to speak with more of the attendees. I was asked if I was Muslim because my name looked like Quran. I smiled and replied, “No, but we do share a lot of similarities as we are from Abrahamic religions and we also fast.” Cultural sharing goes both ways.
When asked what Susan T. Hessel enjoyed about the evening, she replied, “The hospitality, the appreciation for family and friends. Also, those we met were highly skilled and educated, talented, compassionate and welcoming. They treated us like we should treat them. And how we should treat everyone. ” Absolutely!
We thank our hosts for sharing the evening with us and wish our Muslim brothers and sisters Eid Muburak , Happy Celebration.
Below you can read a former post link about Eid Mubarak 2017 in La Crosse.