The Truitt Center welcomed a record number of students and community members to the celebration.
A record number of students, faculty, staff and community members gathered in the McBride Gathering Space in the Numen Lumen Pavilion on April 26 to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan.
The celebration brought dozens of members of the local community to campus for food, fun and fellowship. Nearly 100 attendees shared a festive meal while learning about Muslim traditions from around the world.
Associate Chaplain for Muslim Life Imam Shane Atkinson, Professor of Arabic Shereen Elgamal, Imam of the Burlington Masjid Shaher Sayed, Multifaith Intern Ashley Burnett ’24, and President of the Elon Muslim Society Hasan Khan ’26 were a few of the speakers during the celebration.
For Khan, celebrating Eid al-Fitr on campus was meaningful for many reasons.
“Eid is one of the most important celebrations in the religion of Islam,” he said. “It is an occasion that needs to be celebrated with other people, so having Eid on campus allows the Muslims to have that big celebration that we have back home. More importantly, having an event like this on campus spreads more awareness and knowledge about a different culture that people might not have known of.”
The Truitt Center for Religious and Spiritual Life hosts a series of religious festivals throughout the year to celebrate the many religious, spiritual, and ethical identities present on Elon’s campus, and to educate the community about diverse holiday traditions. These events are planned by the Truitt Center staff with the support of the cohort of Multifaith interns.
“Getting to be a part of the creation and planning of Eid was truly amazing and being able to watch it come together was a full circle moment,” shared intern Ashley Burnett ’24, who was in charge of planning the event. “Being able to have the experience of planning Eid allowed me to meet new people and learn about a celebration that I didn’t know much about before. This is truly something that I’ll never forget!”
This year, cross-campus collaborations with the Truitt Center led to a record number of events throughout the month of Ramadan. During Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn to dusk, and break their fast with a meal called an Iftar. During April, there were several events held on campus to educate the community about Muslim traditions and create opportunities for dialogue, community building, and connections.
“Part of our work is creating events that are both authentic joyful celebrations and meaningful educational opportunities,” said Hillary Zaken, interim assistant dean of Multifaith Engagement. “It was especially meaningful to see our students sharing a meal and chatting with families from the Burlington Masjid; I am so grateful for the community partnerships that support the student experience.”
Khan also loved the opportunity to share his own traditions with others at the event. “I loved seeing so many new faces show up to celebrate Eid with me. I loved answering their questions and getting the preceptive of someone who has never heard of Eid before,” he said. “I also loved how I was able to fully immerse myself in the celebration and have an excuse to wear my cultural clothes.”