Moncton Coliseum hosts drive-in prayer service for Muslims celebrating Eid Al-Adha

·2 min read

Moncton's Muslim community didn't let COVID-19 stop them from celebrating Eid Al-Adha.

On Friday morning, up to 300 vehicles and 700 people gathered at the Moncton Coliseum for a drive-in prayer service, which takes place alongside the period of pilgrimage to Mecca, and goes on for four days.

"I think people were very excited. They haven't seen something similar before," said Abdal Khan, president of the Moncton Muslim Association.

The Association licensed a radio signal so the imam, who leads the group in prayer, could be heard over the car radio— similar to a drive-in movie. And vehicles were spaced out so people could get out and pray next to their cars. In keeping with tradition, children who attended the service also had loot bags with treats delivered to their cars.

The service took place from 8 a.m. until 10:30 a.m.

Tori Weldon/CBC News
Tori Weldon/CBC News

The celebration, also known as the Festival of Sacrifice, is traditionally celebrated with prayer and a feast at the local mosque. But the COVID-19 pandemic has changed this.

"We have to think of a new way to celebrate, safe ways to do things because the pandemic is going to be there for a while," he said during an interview with Information Morning Moncton.

Typically they have up to 800 people from as far away as Miramichi who attend the prayer service, but this year the attendance was much smaller.

But Khan said the association wanted to put on some sort of service to raise people's spirits.

"We wanted to do something but also make sure everybody stays safe."

RCMP were also at the service to make sure people are keeping their distance from one another.

"This is a great way to go out and see people from a distance."