On the morning Sept. 24 the Muslim community of the Oklahoma City area came together to celebrate its annual holiday, Eid al-Adha, that commemorates the end of the pilgrimage to Mecca and Allah’s (God’s) sparing of the prophet Abraham’s son.
The festivities began at the Grand Mosque and after the religious service was concluded participants gathered in the mosque hall to celebrate and avail themselves of the tea, donuts and fruit that were offered there.
Most of the participants were dressed in robes of various vibrant colors and often their little children were attired in matching outfits.
Some of the women present had elaborate dark lines drawn on their arms and hands which is part of the holiday tradition followed in Pakistan and India which are the states where many of the attendees came from.
Cheerful and affectionate greetings were exchanged in English and several different South Asian languages and people lined up in groups so that photos could be taken of them. Several Somali immigrant families were also in attendance.
After the 9 a.m. religious service at the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City adjourned, an even larger crowd of congregants emerged from that house of worship and began to socialize on several sides of the structure.
Those present included African immigrants and their handsome children who were clad in different brightly colored robes that gleamed in the morning sun.
Many of the Arab men present were attired in business suits that were indicative of their relative prosperity.
A surprising number of the little boys and some of the young men in attendance wore colorful bow ties with button down shirts that made them look likes the images of boys and adolescents that are found in the upscale clothes catalogues and in the Ralph Lauren advertisements that are found in travel magazines.
Some of the participants offered refreshments of coffee, tea and sweets from their cars and pretty young girls in headscarves made their way through the crowd offering Arab pastries and candy to those in attendance.
A group of Africans conversed amiably in the Yoruba language of Nigeria as they prepared chicken kabobs over a small grill and offered them to those who walked by.
Many of the young women present had babies in strollers and much affection was lavished on those infants by the adults present.
As the crowd began to disperse, many of the attendees made their way to the Ya Halla and Zam Zam restaurants where buffets and fellowship awaited them.
In accordance with tradition, Zam Zam had ponies and a small train in its parking lot and soon joyous children could be seen waving to their parents and siblings from the saddle and train cars.
There was a truly festive atmosphere at that restaurant as people conversed with one another in Arabic and other languages as they waited patiently on the buffet line.
The staff at that establishment worked hard to deal with increased demand and displayed grace and good cheer as they did so.
At every gathering, the non-Muslims who were present were greeted warmly and were thanked for joining in the holiday festivities.