Eid al-Fitr is an important holiday in the Islamic calendar, celebrating the end of Ramadan and the beginning of the Islamic month of Shawwal. After the fasting during the holy month of Ramadan, Eid is all about families and communities gathering to celebrate with prayers, feasts and festivals. Eid means “festivity” in Arabic, so here’s how to get festive in Chicago.
Eid Fest 2017
Describing itself as Chicago’s greatest Eid celebration and growing with each year, the seventh annual Eid Fest will be held by the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) Chicago at the Islamic Foundation in Villa Park. Over the weekend of July 7—9, there will be a carnival with two nights of fireworks, a variety of halal food vendors, a shopping bazaar, as well as rides, activities and entertainment for all ages.
Eid Expo 2017
Held for the first time in 2016, Eid Expo saw thousands of Muslims from across the Midwest gather at Navy Pier. Managed by the American Pan-Islamic Community Council (APICC) and organized by the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC) and Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America (IFANCA), one of the Eid prayers was led by Imam Zaid Shakir, who also led the prayers at Muhammad Ali’s funeral. The event also included an array of halal food, a shopping Bazaar and henna artists. Look out for this year’s event, which will be held on June 24 and 25.
Downtown Islamic Center
Established in 1976 to provide a space for Muslims to attend Friday prayers within the Loop, the Downtown Islamic Center (DIC) is a mosque and community center offering educational classes, programs for children and daily prayers. Education and community service are the focus of the DIC, so what better place to celebrate the first Eid of the year? Join in the prayers and make your charitable donation.
Eid is also often called Sweet Eid or the Sweet Festival due to the large amount of candy, cakes, sweet dishes and other treats enjoyed after a month of fasting. Different countries and regions favor different traditions and specialities, including sheer khurma, a sweet milky dessert made with sugared noodles with dates, and barfi, a Indian confectionery made from condensed milk, nuts, sugared almonds, pastries, butter cookies and baklava. Tahoora Sweets & Bakery and Sukhadia’s Sweets and Snacks in West Ridge are good places to stock up.
Break the fast in style
It is forbidden to fast on the Day of Eid, so take advantage of that with a visit to one or more of Chicago’s many great halal restaurants. Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Indian options are available all over the city, including The Halal Guys, Bombay Wraps, Taza Cafe and Chapati Grill.