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Ramadan festival | © Amila Tennakoon / Flickr
Ramadan festival | © Amila Tennakoon / Flickr
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How to Celebrate Eid in San Francisco

Picture of Justine McGrath
Updated: 11 April 2017
The Arabic word “Eid” translates to either “celebration” or “festival.” There are two major Muslim holidays in the calendar year: Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. Eid al-Fitr, or the “festival of breaking the fast,” occurs each year to signify the end of Ramadan (a holy month of fasting) and marks the first day of the Islamic month of Shawwal, historically celebrated when the new moon is visible. While some traditional Muslims will wait for the moon or an official announcement from Mecca, the majority of people celebrating in the United States will begin celebrating on a date determined by the Fiqh Council of North America. Eid celebrations last three days and are a joyful time full of food, family, and fun. For those looking to take part in the festivities in San Francisco, as the City by the Bay has one of the largest Muslim populations in the country, here are some ways to celebrate Eid al-Fitr.

Visit a mosque

Many mosques in the city organize massive meetings for Eid prayers. The Islamic Society of San Francisco, Masjid al-Tawheed, and Al Sabeel – Masjid Noor al-Islam all draw large crowds on Eid. It is a time for festivities, so many people will arrive at mosques in their best attire to show respect and to make the celebration special. Eid al-Fitr is a summer holiday, so oftentimes, organizers will create prayer meetups in parks. This outdoor setting is a festive alternative to being inside a mosque and still draws many attendees.

Donate

Zakat al-Fatir is the act of donating excess food from the household to those who are in need. The treasured practice is touching and a true sign of the Islamic community’s commitment to inclusion. Many Muslims donate either food or money to the program of their choosing. Unsure about where to donate? The Bay Area Muslim Community Association provides helpful resources for those looking to participate in Zakat al-Fatir.

Halal Fest

Although not technically in San Francisco, Halal Fest is a massive celebration that rotates between different Bay Area cities each summer. In addition to contests, music, and games, visitors can enjoy an abundance of halal food options. From fresh kebabs heating up on open-air grills to specialty food trucks, Halal Fest is a fun way for the community to celebrate Eid and bond over food. Similarly, many mosques around the country and city will turn their grounds into a carnival-like setting, which can be enjoyed after prayers.

Bay Area halal restaurants

The best part of any holiday is loading up on food you wouldn’t get to eat otherwise. Massive feasts are typically prepared in the homes of Muslims to celebrate a successful month of fasting coming to a close, but you can always dine out too. Find one of the many delicious halal restaurants in San Francisco and treat yourself to some mouthwatering meals.

Spend time with friends and family

Holidays are for spending time with the ones you love. Eid al-Fatir celebrates the will it takes to fast for a month—from sunup to sundown—which is no easy feat! Succeeding in a Ramadan fast is a true testament to the human spirit, and it should be celebrated alongside the special people in your life.

Henna

There’s a longstanding tradition in the Muslim community for women to adorn themselves with henna tattoos. The temporary designs are elegant, festive, and beautiful. Although not everyone celebrates Eid al-Fatir with henna tattoos, visiting a henna artist to kick off the holiday is an exciting way to break with routine and appreciate Middle Eastern culture. Due to the large Muslim population in SF, there are quite a number of henna artists to be found in the city, but be sure to book an appointment in advance for Eid.

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