Super Eid celebration draws crowds to US Bank Stadium
Thousands of Muslims gathered on the grounds of US Bank Stadium, with even more descending the steps on Saturday morning as a religious leader chanted Allahu Akbar in honor of the Islamic holiday Eid.
“Brothers and sisters, inchallah — we are going to pray Eid salaha voice echoed across the field. “The facility is full. We can no longer allow more people in, so we want to…not delay. »
Everyone got up. They listened to the prayer, knelt down and touched their heads to the ground. Then the stadium roars in silence.
“Wow,” Imam Abdirahman Kariye told organizers afterwards. “It was amazing…it was the biggest Eid gathering I’ve seen in my life.”
Forty-five thousand Muslims filled the stadium for their biggest celebrations in style, just after sunrise. Families dressed in their finery came to honor Eid al-Adha – the second and holiest of the two Eids, it commemorates Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son to obey Allah, who gave Ibrahim a ram to kill instead. It also recognizes the completion of the annual hajj, or pilgrimage, to Mecca.
Organizers dubbed Saturday’s event “Super Eid”.
One, Abdulahi Farah, recalled that in 2018 some Muslim leaders planning Eid said it was best to ‘lay low and hide’ lest a large gathering be taken for target.
“It was like no,” Farah said, “what does that do to our identity and claiming our voice in Minnesota, who we are?”
Instead, they decided to plan their biggest Eid that year at the stadium, attracting 36,000 people. The follow-up to this Eid was even greater, bringing together many who had not seen each other during the lull of the pandemic and replicating how their Muslim brothers in Somalia and other countries honored the day – by coming together in the biggest place they could find.
Eid is also a time for giving to the less fortunate, and speakers urged the mostly Somali American crowd to donate money for millions of people who are facing starvation due to drought in Somalia.
Vendors were selling toys and books: Giving gifts is traditional on Eid Day, and Farah’s 9-year-old daughter took off her new doll’s hijab and brushed her hair diligently for that the adults were talking about. Political campaigns dropped off leaflets. The boys and girls showed off stylish new outfits as they rushed through the crowd.
“Yesterday we were at the mall in Roseville, and it was like Christmas Eve – everyone was running around trying to get their Eid outfit together,” Salma Hussein said.
Her 4-year-old daughter Suhayr Al-Said looked like a princess in her new sparkly blue dress and jeweled white hijab. The mother and daughter had decorated their arms and hands with henna, as is customary for Eid, and Suhayr was at an age where she could begin to understand the holiday.
“It’s her first Eid where she’s quite old,” Hussein said happily.
The event – open to the public and non-Muslims alike – was so large that leaders held the prayer four times, quickly bringing out each group to welcome the next.
There was also suspense: who would win the toss and drive away in the given BMW crowned with an exposed red bow?
“We’ll announce the winner in about two minutes!” said Kariye, imam of the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington.
The leaders spun a computerized wheel three times and called out the winning number. No one came forward to collect. It turned out that the man who had won had participated in the first round of prayers and had already left. Someone left him a voicemail.
Nadir Hussein approached the men standing near the car, lamenting that he hadn’t won. “My third round, I lost,” the Blaine resident said, holding his little niece. It was his first Super Eid, and celebrating with so many people, he said, “was so beautiful”.
Stadium goers left to feast with their families and enjoy the rest of the day at the Mall of America, Valleyfair or a carnival afternoon outside the stadium at Commons Park with bouncy houses, ice cream and obstacle courses.
“We did it!” volunteer Khalid Omar cheered as the stadium crowd dwindled.
He had been there since 5 o’clock in the morning.
“We hope we can continue to do Super Eid every year,” Kariye said. “I think everyone likes to come out; it’s a different experience and it creates great memories. And nothing beats that beautiful Vikings stadium, you know? »