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Getting Dressed for the ‘Muslim Met Gala’

Hasan Minhaj and Ramy Youssef joined hundreds of Muslims dressed to the nines at a morning prayer gathering in New York for the Eid al-Fitr holiday.

Many Muslims in New York started Eid, the holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, with a prayer gathering at Washington Square Park.

Washington Square Park is known for its lively atmosphere and eclectic characters. That was no different on Wednesday, when hundreds of Muslims filled the park to attend a morning prayer gathering for Eid al-Fitr, the holiday that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

People celebrate Eid by getting dressed to the nines, which is why some jokingly refer to it as the Muslim Met Gala. Many came to Washington Square Park wearing colorful traditional garments like galabeyas, grand boubous, salwar kameez, thobes, kurtas and abayas, some of which were accessorized with opulent jewels or swipes of dark kajal eyeliner. Others chose more casual clothes — like the comic Ramy Youssef, who wore a hoodie and a green baseball cap.

On the morning of Eid, there are many large prayer gatherings throughout New York — in mosques, at high school football fields, on blocked-off streets. The prayer at the Lower Manhattan park, which took place beneath its Roman arch, is known for drawing a diverse crowd representative of the two billion Muslims globally. It is also known to attract notable people like Mr. Youssef as well as the comic Hasan Minhaj and the MSNBC anchor Ayman Mohyeldin, both of whom also attended.

Ramy Youssef, left, grinning and pointing at Hasan Minhaj, right, who is pointing back at Mr. Youssef with one hand and with his other hand is greeting Ayman Mohyeldin, center.
From left, Ramy Youssef, Ayman Mohyeldin and Hasan Minhaj enthusiastically greeted each other.

The annual Eid al-Fitr gathering at Washington Square Park was started more than 10 years ago by leaders of the Islamic Center at N.Y.U. “We were just trying to conceptualize space that could fit our growing numbers and be a memorable experience,” said the center’s director, Imam Khalid Latif, who led this year’s prayer before giving a khutbah, or sermon.

“It can be very affirming knowing that in a city as large as New York, you’re not by yourself, you’re not alone,” Mr. Khalid added. “And it helps people also around us who we share space with, who are our neighbors, to know that we’re Muslim, and we are here as well.”

A crowd of people, many of whom are wearing hijabs, standing in prayer at a park.
Hundreds filled the park for the prayer led by Imam Khalid Latif of the Islamic Center at N.Y.U.

The prayer gathering’s first attendees started arriving at 7:30 a.m. Many quickly spotted friends and relatives, greeting them with cries of, “Eid mubarak,” or “blessed Eid,” as they embraced. By 9:15 a.m., people began making their way to the homes of loved ones, an Eid tradition known as house hopping that involves serving lots of food.

During the gathering, The New York Times spoke to attendees about their outfits, their favorite Eid memories and what inspired them to start the holiday at Washington Square Park.

Interviews have been edited.

A man standing in Washington Square Park. He is holding a leopard print umbrella and is wearing an embroidered cap and a yellow tunic-like garment over a similarly colored long-sleeve shirt.
Kojo Muharib
Occupation: Artist

Age: 31

Heritage: Ghanaian

How did Eid inspire your outfit? I was inspired by God. God said it was going to be cloudy today. So I had to come out looking like the sun. That’s why I have on gold — I had to come and shine.

Hasan Minhaj standing in Washington Square Park. He is wearing dark sunglasses and a printed black-and-white tunic-like garment over black pants.
Hasan Minhaj
Age: 38

Heritage: Indian

Why did you come to this gathering? It is so spiritually moving to be with such a diverse group here at the iconic Washington Square park. To listen to Imam Khalid Latif’s khutbah, and just see the diversity in the community, is so touching and amazing.

Tell me about your outfit. Eid is the one time where we put on our best, most stylish clothes. It’s a day to flex a little bit. The whole family is matching: We’re all wearing tones of black and white with embroidery.

From left, a woman, a man and a second woman standing in Washington Square Park. The woman, left, is wearing a bluish-green printed dress over a long-sleeve black top. The man is wearing a pale tunic-like garment over a salmon-colored button-down shirt. The second woman, right, is wearing a dark scarf over her hair and an aqua-colored tunic.
Zeinab Bakillah, Abderrahman Bakillah and Emna Bakillah
Occupations: Lawyer; finance associate; physician

Ages: 27; 26; 29

Heritage: Moroccan and Tunisian

How did Eid inspire your outfits?

ZEINAB BAKILLAH I’m wearing a traditional Tunisian outfit. We just dress up a little bit more on this holiday. I chose something that’s more traditional to embrace our culture.

ABDERRAHMAN BAKILLAH I’d say the same thing with the galabeya. We’re half Moroccan, half Tunisian.

EMNA BAKILLAH This dress belongs to my mom, who passed away five years ago. Every year on Eid, I try to wear something of hers. Every Eid, she was really good about getting the family all together.

A woman, left, and a man standing in Washington Square Park. The woman is wearing a cropped, black-and-white, patterned jacket over a red floor-length garment. The man is wearing a beige sleeveless garment over a gray tunic-like garment and like-colored pants.
Narmeen Choudhury and Abdul Quadir Choudhury
Occupations: Journalist; retired pharmacist

Ages: 43; 78

Heritage: Bangladeshi

How did Eid inspire your outfits?

NARMEEN CHOUDHURY When I was in Bangladesh last summer, I thought about the upcoming Eid, because it’s so difficult sometimes to find outfits here in New York. I always think about something that’s reflective of our culture. And modesty, obviously, for when you’re praying.

What’s your favorite Eid memory?

ABDUL QUADIR CHOUDHURY I moved here in 1973. That Eid, we did the prayer in Manhattan; small, not that many Muslims. Now, so many Eid prayers.

A woman standing in Washington Square Park. She has a printed scarf covering her hair and is wearing an embroidered garment over a white collared shirt. On one of her hands is a henna tattoo.
Sarah Elawad
Occupation: Graphic designer

Age: 27

Heritage: Sudanese

Tell me about your outfit. My mum got it for me, and Eid is all about family. I’m missing my mum today — she’s in Qatar. On the way here, on the train, I sat next to a girl who was clearly dressed for Eid as well. I said “Eid mubarak,” and we ended up walking over here together. That’s the beautiful thing about celebrating this day, is being around other people who also celebrate.

What’s your favorite Eid fashion memory? Probably this one: This is the first time that I tried to add my own touch to my outfit by bringing my own layering and fashion into it as well.

A man standing in Washington Square Park. He is wearing a pale, striped, tunic-like garment.
Alhassane Barry
Occupation: N.Y.U. student

Heritage: Guinean

How did Eid inspire your outfit? This is actually a gift from my brother. This is a Moroccan thobe. He bought it a couple of months ago, but it’s inspired me to show out and embrace my culture.

What does this gathering mean to you? It means everything to me. It showcases a community that we’re still building. You can see bystanders walking by and saying: “Hey, this something that’s cool. I should look into this, probably.” So I think it just showcases that we’re not afraid to take pride in our religion.

A man standing in Washington Square Park. He has a red scarf on his head and is wearing a dark garment with gold embroidery.
Isa Hussain
Occupation: Dancer

Age: 23

Heritage: Guyanese

Tell me about your outfit. So last night I actually went to Jackson Heights because there’s always a big festival there. I got this kurta there. I got the kajal for today specifically. I don’t usually do a lot of makeup or anything like that. So this is kind of like the day that I get a little bit more fun with it. I used to wrap my head a lot back in the day. But I haven’t done it in a while.

What’s your favorite Eid memory? I was actually in Nazareth for Eid in 2019. And it was so beautiful. There were lights everywhere and children playing with toys.

A man standing in Washington Square Park. He is wearing diamond-shaped sunglasses and a peach-colored jacket over a like-colored top and pants.
Onu Mezbah
Occupation: Sales

Age: 32

Heritage: Bangladeshi

How did Eid inspire your outfit? I wanted a modern take on our heritage: a tad bit of color, a bit of a different silhouette than what everybody else is wearing. Everybody’s looking so nice. It’s very refreshing.

Two women standing in Washington Square Park. One woman, left, has green and blue printed textiles over her hair and is wearing a garment made of the same blue textile, with green fabrics draped over one of her shoulders and around her waist. The other woman, right, has a black gauzy textile over her hair and is wearing a printed garment that is black, white and gold.
Fatima Abba and Iman Abba
Occupation: Student; biomedical engineer

Age: 19; 30

Heritage: Nigerian

What’s your favorite Eid fashion memory?

FATIMA ABBA Last year, I wore something that I didn’t think I would wear. I wore pink.

A man standing in Washington Square Park. He is wearing a blue patterned cap and a light blue tunic-like garment with geometric embroidery.
Abdoulaye Ndiaye
Occupation: Professor

Age: 35

Heritage: Senegalese

Tell me about your outfit. So this is a grand boubou from Senegal. It was actually my wedding evening dress as well.

What’s your plan for the rest of the day? We’re going to have a brunch, then we are going to host some people at my place nearby. And then, at 2 p.m., I’m teaching. I’m giving an exam to my students. At 5:30, I’m taking a flight to go to Duke to give a lecture there.

A woman sitting in Washington Square Park. She is wearing a velvety maroon outfit with pink embroidery.
Saima Anjam
Occupation: Government affairs

Age: 40

Heritage: Pakistani

How did Eid inspire your outfit? When I was growing up, I was always taught that you should always look your best on Eid.

Why did you come to this gathering? It’s very diverse. It’s very accepting. And I wanted to be a part of that on this very special day.

https://www.nytimes.com/2024/04/10/styl ... -park.html
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