By Gabriella Payne
The Officer Public Hall was transformed into a colourful, multicultural bazaar over the weekend, as people from all different cultural backgrounds came together to shop and celebrate at the Eid Bazaar.
Held during the day on Saturday 1 May, everyone who made it along to the bazaar had a great time chatting with one another, shopping and perusing the goods on offer at the many stalls.
For those unfamiliar, ‘Eid’ is a celebration held by the muslim community, that literally translates to ‘festival’ or ‘feast’ in Arabic.
There are two major ‘eids’ in the Islamic calendar per year – ‘Eid al-Fitr’ and ‘Eid al-Adha’, and ‘Eid al-Fitr’ or “the feast of breaking the fast”, is coming up in just a few weeks to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
The Eid Bazaar was a fantastic opportunity for members of Cardinia’s muslim community – and the wider community as well – to come together and share one of their beloved cultural traditions.
Shoheli Sunjida, one of the organisers of the bazaar and representative of the Officer and District Residents’ Association, said that it had been a wonderful event and they were already looking forward to hosting the next one.
“The Eid Bazaar went really well, we were very happy,” Ms Sunjida said.
“We had a wide variety of stallholders from Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India and Afghanistan.
Most of the stallholders are local small business owners, and for some of them, it was their very first experience coming outside their home as a business owner – so it was a big opportunity for them to connect with the community,” she said.
Ms Sunjida said that many members of the local muslim community said they had “been dying for a bazaar in this area” and everyone had thoroughly enjoyed themselves on the day.
“We are already planning to hold another one in three months time on a bigger scale, with more stallholders and a wider variety,” she said.
Ms Sunjida said that a lot of immigrants in the area were missing traditional bazaars and celebrations from back home, so it was great to see so many families in attendance over the weekend.
Ms Sunjida invited the wider community to come along to the next bazaar in a few months time, and said it would be great to get the help and support of the Cardinia Shire Council moving forward.
Cardinia’s muslim community will also be coming together to mark the beginning of Eid al-Fitr with some Eid prayers, which are being held on either Wednesday 12 May or Thursday 13 May (tentative date, as these prayers are reliant on the sighting of the moon).
This will be the first time the muslim community will hold Eid prayers together in Cardinia, and Ms Sunjida said that everyone was looking forward to it.
“We are working hard to give people these opportunities to bring the muslim community together – but also the broader Australian community as well,” she said.