Thousands gather in Nathan Phillips Square to celebrate Eid al-Adha

·2 min read
Thousands of Muslims gathered in Nathan Phillips Square for Eid al-Adha on Saturday. (CBC - image credit)
Thousands of Muslims gathered in Nathan Phillips Square for Eid al-Adha on Saturday. (CBC - image credit)

Thousands of Muslims gathered in downtown Toronto on Saturday to celebrate a major Islamic holiday.

Members of the Muslim community recited prayers for Eid al-Adha in Nathan Phillips Square. The Muslim Association of Canada, a national charity, organized the prayer service. It said it was the first Eid prayer held in the square.

According to the association, Eid al-Adha is one of the two annual main festivals for Muslims. Eid-al-Adha is known as the "Feast of Sacrifice" and the day marks the end of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia that is known as the hajj.

On Eid-al-Adha, many Muslims around the world offer Qurbani ("sacrifice" in Arabic) in a tradition that goes back to the Prophet Abraham, the association said. They give in charity and share what they have with all, it added.

CBC
CBC

Toronto Mayor John Tory said in a video on Twitter that he extends his wishes to people celebrating Eid-al-Adha on Saturday.

"This a time of sacrifice and a time of giving. It's among the most important celebrations in Islam. Eid-al-Adha is an opportunity for Muslims across our city to reunite with loved ones and with community members," Tory said.

Tory said Eid celebrations looked differently during the COVID-19 pandemic because of public health restrictions, but the community in the past more than two years has continued to be resilient, caring and generous.

He said Muslims volunteered in their communities, worked to raise money and helped other people to get vaccinated. The mayor said he is grateful for their efforts.

"As for Torontonians at large, Eid represents an opportunity to recognize the contributions of Muslim-Canadians to our city and to take the time to learn more about your Muslim neighbours and friends or colleagues and their faith."

For his part, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement that Eid-al-Adha is a time for prayer, sharing, sacrifice and compassion for Muslims in Canada.

"As one of the most important holidays in Islam, every year, Muslims celebrate by gathering with family and loved ones to pray, showing gratitude for life's blessings, sharing festive meals, and providing food to those in need," he said.

Trudeau added that the federal government is committed to fighting Islamophobia.

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