Muslims around the world celebrated Eid, the end of the holy month of Ramadan, on Thursday.
Thousands gathered in the morning for Eid prayers at the Winnipeg Convention Centre.
Then, after 30 long summer days of fasting from sunrise to sunset, they feasted.
"It’s a celebration for an accomplishment," said Ismael Mukhtar, president of the Manitoba Islamic Association.
Healthy, mature and observant Muslims give up food and water during the daylight hours of Ramadan.
"It’s not a celebration of the end of Ramadan, it’s a celebration of having went through this unique experience — of having this important milestone in our life," said Mukhtar.
"This is a time for very intensive spiritual introspection, a time for praying, a time for charity and for self-evaluation and assessment."
During Eid, Muslims visit friends and hold open houses for family, friends and neighbours of all faiths, Mukhtar said.
On August 24, the Grand Mosque (2445 Waverley St.) is holding an Eid festival from 3 to 10 p.m. and friends and neighbours are welcome to attend, he said.
"We want people to come and meet us and know who we are," he said. Last year, 4,000 people attended.
"We’re part and parcel of the larger community."
Eid is also a time to observe the suffering of others, said Mukhtar.
"There is a feeling of sadness about what is happening across the world, not only in the Muslim world but globally," said Mukhtar. "When innocent people are killed, when we see social tension and people killing other people in the name of religion and the abuse of human beings and the abuse of the environment, a lot of it really saddens us," he said
"In the Eid sermons we talk about the celebration and the suffering of other people who can’t celebrate the way we’re celebrating. We definitely pray for them and we wish they would have the same opportunities and circumstances we do here."