Ramadan 2017 has been quite eventful for the Muslim community in New Zealand. Since its start on Sunday, May 28 the country has witnessed scores of Iftar parties organised by community organisations. The Parliament in Wellington hosted an Iftar party in association with FIANZ, and even Holy Trinity Cathedral in Parnell, Auckland, hosted an Iftar party in association with the Human Rights Commission of New Zealand.

To conclude the holiest month of the Muslim community, Eid-ul-Fitr is celebrated at the end of 30 days of fasting. Auckland Eid Day, a charitable organisation has been instrumental in bringing the community together irrespective of their faith and ethnicity under one roof to celebrate the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr.

The Indian Weekender spoke to Javed Dadabhai, the lead organiser of the Auckland Eid Day about the upcoming Eid event that will be held on Monday, June 26 or Tuesday, June 27 at Mt Smart Stadium premises in Penrose, Auckland.

IWK: Tell us a little about Auckland Eid Day (AED)?

Javed: Auckland Eid Day is in its seventh year now and operates under Al-Manar Trust, Auckland. Eid is the biggest occasion for the Muslim community, and we help make this a big celebration for the community. We host two events every year, it is a bi-annual event, Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha and we work to bring a big show for the people.

'Auckland Eid Day' lead organiser Javed Dadabhai at The Indian Weekender office

IWK: What happens at the Eid day carnival?

Javed: The event has a fixed Eid prayer in the morning, and everything revolves around it. The event is very fluid, and the whole venue houses food stalls, clothing, entertainment and some small businesses, etc. The entertainment section has Muslim entertainments such as Nasheed and Quran recitation, poetry, clowns and illusionists, etc.

For the kids, we have bouncing castles, toy car rides, face painting, scarf and imitation jewellery counters and henna for women and delicacies from different countries like India, Malaysia, Turkey, Singapore, Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, etc.

IWK: What is the footfall and how many Muslim Indians come to the event?

Javed: We take in stating that at AED, we have around 5,000 people attending the Eid Namaz at a time, and it is the biggest congressional prayer in New Zealand.

In total, we get 12,000 visitors throughout the day. In the morning men, women and children come for the Eid namaz and leave by Dhuhr Namaz or after lunch and people who pray somewhere else come with their families to spend some time at the venue. There will be stage shows, and people can move around at the venue having a good family time. As an incentive, we also give goodie bags to children after every prayer.

IWK: Who will be the Imam for the prayer this year?

Javed: Every year we plan to get a new person to lead the Eid prayers, and this year the honour will go to President of FIANZ Hazim Arafeh.

IWK: Is anything special planned for Eid 2017?

Javed: It is going to be a chilly winter and to contribute our part in the community, we have organised a charity drive and have asked people to get their old clothes and non-perishable goods to donate to the needy. This is linking back to Zakat which is mandatory in Islam, and it should be given in Ramadan. People should donate clothes that you haven’t worn for a year or more so that it can be distributed amongst the homeless and someone in need.

IWK: Where is the event happening this year?

Javed: The event will take place at Mt Smart Stadium, and we request people to come through Maurice Road entrance. Depending on the sighting of the moon, the Eid prayers will be held either on Monday, June 26 or Tuesday, June 27. The Takbeer will start from 8:15 a.m. and the Eid prayer will start at 9 a.m.

The Indian Weekender will bring the live streaming of the Eid prayers from Mt Smart Stadium on the day of Eid-ul-Fitr.