Making Eid the joyous celebration it's supposed to be isn't just the responsibility of individuals and families. It's also the Masjid's job.
After all, where are those who don't really have Eid plans going to go? What about the brothers and sisters who are converts and have no Muslim family? Or those new to the community? Or students with family abroad?
This is clearly an area where the mosques should be stepping in. Here are seven activities mosques can organize that can help make Eid special.
1. An Eid luncheon
Nothing too extravagant or fancy. Get volunteers to help make the food. The event would be held shortly after Eid prayers.
Entertainment would be nice, but the main thing is maintaining a festive atmosphere in the community on Eid day.
If lunch is too close by, try dinner. Remember, the key is make it simple. If getting it catered is too expensive, try getting volunteers to make the food.
Also, if this is planned well in advance, you can even sell tickets and make it more organized, instead of having a spur of the moment Eid meal.
3. Kids' Carnival
Kids really need to feel that Eid is special, given the hype around Christmas, and to a lesser degree, Hanukkah.
So a dinner or luncheon just won't be enough. They need rides, games, cotton candy, the works. One sister I know organizes a yearly Eid carnival and plans for it about ONE YEAR in advance.
But you can make yours simple: just get some dedicated, organized volunteers and have them arrange good, old-fashioned kids' games outside the mosque area: tag, beanbag races, etc.
And of course, have lots of candy ready to give out. If possible, simple gifts would be a great idea too.
The mosques should be resounding with Takbirat on Eid. Instead of just grabbing any brother standing around to recite the Takbirat, arrange to get a group of young brothers to do it and prepare well in advance. It could very well be the best Takbirat you've heard in your life!
5. Give extra food from the luncheon/dinner to a food bank or homeless shelter
This prevents food from being wasted and it's great Dawa. It can also open the door for future cooperation on projects of mutual concern between the mosque and the shelter.
6. Have a basketball competition outside the mosque
This would be between the Imam and mosque administrators/parents vs. young Muslim brothers. It can also be baseball, hockey or cricket if that's what everyone likes to play. The point is not to beat the competition, but to have fun, build community and Eid spirit and youth confidence in the leadership. Have kids nine and under be "cheerleaders" for the different teams.
7. Get the youth and new Muslims involved in preparing for Eid prayers at the mosque
Get them involved in mosque clean up and preparation, make them ushers who will make people's rows straight during prayers, have them make signs to post where needed in the mosque or Eid prayer place. And don't forget to consult them. This is a great way to get the future generation of Muslims and converts involved while getting necessary mosque work done.
2002 Sound Vision Foundation, Inc.