Michael Wenye Li/Sun File Photo

Chaplain Yasin Ahmed, Cornell's Muslim chaplain of four years, is looking forward to the students gathering on Thursday, and will be celebrating Eid with his family this year.

May 12, 2021

This Eid-al-Fitr, Students to Break Their Fast With Friends

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Students are marking the end of Ramadan with an Eid celebration different from previous years — with some students breaking fast alone and many planning to celebrate with friends instead of family for the first time.

Eid, the Muslim holdiay that celebrates the end of the month-long fasting of Ramadan, is taking place during the Cornell academic year for the first time since 2011. Students who usually gather with their families to celebrate the holiday will break their fasts away from home this Thursday.  

Adam Kadhim ’23 said that this year’s Eid feels different from last year’s, which he spent with his mother ordering takeout during the height of the pandemic. This week, he plans to have dinner with his friends.

Kadhim recalled Eids from his childhood in North Carolina, featuring fairgrounds and a ferris wheel.

“The squad will pull up, a really nice social day and the Eid prayer was huge,” Kadhim said. “A lot of people, a really beautiful time.”

Chaplain Yasin Ahmed said that in his four years at Cornell, other events have included a banquet, speakers, party events such as photo booths and an Eid prayer, drawing Muslims throughout the Ithaca area to celebrate the holiday. 

This year, students can gather outdoors at the Cornell Law Courtyard at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday at the courtyard at Anabel Taylor Hall, when students will be lead in prayers in an event hosted by the Muslim Educational and Cultural Association.

“The in-person prayer comes after a long month apart and for many of us being unable to get together for many days,” Salaiha Mughal 22, a member of MECA’s executive board, wrote in an email. “MECA has a small surprise for everyone in attendance as well, and we look forward to seeing everyone at Eid Prayer.”

Ahmed, who is celebrating Eid with his family for the first time since he began working at Cornell, stressed the importance of rebuilding a sense of community among students on a distanced campus. 

“A lot of people have really been missing the sense of community,” Ahmed said. “This is the first time to see each other and greet each other and celebrate together.”

Eid also marks the return to regular sleep and study schedules for some students, after their changed routines during Ramadan.

Zuhair Imaduddin ’23 said he is looking forward to getting coffee at Collegetown Bagels for the first time since the start of Ramadan and plans to go to the Eid event at Stewart Park.

Imaduddin said this is his first time celebrating the end of Ramadan without his family. He used to go to family friend’s homes throughout the day, get boba with his family and watch fireworks in the evenings.

“Although I don’t want to compare [experiences], I’m really looking forward to spending a holiday with my friends, which is something I didn’t do at home,” Imaduddin said.

For Asma Khan ’21, being away from family for the first time presents its own set of differences and challenges during Ramadan. Rather than waking up early for breakfast and eating dinner at the end of the day together with her family, Khan wakes up alone at 4 a.m. while her housemates are asleep.

“This year it’s more of a celebration of getting through Ramadan, being strong throughout it, and it’s even more celebratory because we’ve had to do this alone,” Khan said.  

Now that another Ramadan is coming to a close, Khan looks forward to being able to have a hearty Pakistani breakfast full of poori, a fried bread, and halawa as well as her mother’s Seviyan, a sweet dish of vermicelli noodles in milk and a common Pakistani dessert.

“Having food in daylight [is a] different experience,” Khan said.