StampEid Breakfast draws thousands for first post-pandemic restrictions celebration

·2 min read
According to organizers, more than 7,000 people took part in the StampEid breakfast event. (Axel Tardieu/CBC - image credit)
According to organizers, more than 7,000 people took part in the StampEid breakfast event. (Axel Tardieu/CBC - image credit)

Calgary's Ismaili Muslim community hosted its annual StampEid breakfast, but this year it coincided with the Islamic holiday Eid al-Adha.

The holiday, known as the "Festival of Sacrifice," is often marked by communal prayers, large social gatherings and giving to those in need.

According to organizers, an estimated 7,000 people attended this year's free StampEid event on Saturday. It is the 25th year the event has been put on, only taking a break during the pandemic.

Visitors were offered drinks and the sweet treat jalebi, bharazi (pigeon peas in a coconut-based sauce), crepes and toasts.

"It's a wonderful day today. we've got lots of warm weather, lots of crowd with lots of smiles," said Alisha Kanji, one of the event organizers and member of the Ismaili Council of the Prairies.

Axel Tardieu/CBC
Axel Tardieu/CBC

As the Islamic calendar is based on a lunar calendar, Eid al-Adha shifts dates each year. And as this year's edition of Stampede rolled around, it presented organizers with a new opportunity to unite traditions.

"We were starting to notice that a lot of our Muslim festivities were starting to coincide with Stampede and so it's really important to us to understand how we bring the Stampede traditions that we are creating — this being our 25th one — and our cultural traditions to come together," Kanji said.

Axel Tardieu/CBC
Axel Tardieu/CBC

After a two-year pandemic hiatus, the celebration this year returned with extra vigor within the community.

"This is our first Stampede breakfast since COVID but, you know, coming together for Eid is something that's very important," Kanji said.

"We have about 250 volunteers who really do dedicate their time and their efforts to make this Stampede breakfast possible, everything from the logistics, to the planning to the service of the food. Service is very important to the Ismaili community, but it's also a great opportunity to have the external community to come and volunteer with us today."

Axel Tardieu/CBC
Axel Tardieu/CBC

For attendee Tasleem Kurji, the breakfast is about reconnecting with others.

"It's a time to celebrate with your family, friends, the community," she said. "It's a remembrance of your faith and who you are. It brings you back to your ethics, diversity, pluralism, family.

It's fantastic. It's nice to see everyone coming together again."

Axel Tardieu/CBC
Axel Tardieu/CBC

The "Festival of Sacrifice" coincides with Hajj, an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, the holiest city for Muslims.

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