Eid brings cause for double celebration

Venkat Raman –

Aucklanders and visitors to the country’s largest city will have an opportunity to celebrate Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al Adha, in a rare combination of two of the Holiest Festivals next weekend.

Anne Degia Pala, who spearheads a number of community projects and advocates for social causes, organises the ‘International Food Festival’ every year to bring together people of different cultures with their unique cuisines.

This year, the event is scheduled to be held on Sunday, October 11 at Kelston Community Centre, located at the Corner of Awaroa and Great North Roads from 10 am to 6 pm.

The Festival will be open to women only the previous evening (October 10) from 6 pm to 830 pm at the same venue.

Eid Al Fitr

Muslims have a rich history of celebrating festivals, each of which is a combination of religious and social factors and on such a score, Eid Al Fitr (celebrated this year on July 18) marks a special occasion in the Islamic calendar.

Special prayers, decoration of homes and offices with colourful lights, distribution of special food and sweets mark the three day festivities in the Arab world. The celebrations included recitation of the Holy Quran and poetry in the praise of Allah, Prophet Mohammed and Hazrat Ali. Since Muslims make up a rich tapestry of many nations and languages, these are recited in the local language besides the traditional Arabic for Quranic recitations.

Eid Al Adha

Muslims celebrated Eid Al Adha, marking the pilgrimage season and sacrifice on September 25, 2015. Millions of Muslims from all over the world congregate at Mecca (Makkah) as a part of their Hajj, prescribed as a sacred duty at least once in their life time.

Advocacy network

Ms Pala organises the ‘International Food Festival’ as a part of her ‘EthNix Links and Advocacy Network (ELAN), promoting the wellbeing of ethnic women in New Zealand. A former President of the Waitakere Ethnic Board and Waitakere Indian Association, she believes that community engagement at the ground level, brings together more people than any other method.

Building bridges

“Many bridges can be built by sharing and peaceful means. The Muslim community accounts for more than 50 different nationalities and such events can generate goodwill and understanding across communities,” she said.

Ms Pala carries the pain and grief of losing her son Nikheel in a car accident on September 26, 2001. A promising young man with affable manners and good habits, he was neither driving the ill-fated car nor wearing a safety belt on that terrible day 14 years ago.

Ms Pala established ‘NixCrew Trust’ to promote road safety and since then expanded her activities to promote community unity.

She has done considerable work with the local Police on road safety, ‘seat belt campaign’ and other programmes conducted over the years.

Halal Food

“The forthcoming Festival will feature Halal food from India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Fiji and Somalia, apart from other countries. There will also be stalls serving vegetarian food and our own New Zealand BBQ,” she said.

The event is supported by the Auckland Council Henderson-Massey Local Board, WinMac Solutions Limited, NixCrew Trust, Brother NZ and HummFM Radio.

Further details can be obtained from Anne Pala on 021-813607; Email: annpala@nixcrew.com

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