Every few months my mom travels to Ann Arbor for work at the University of Michigan and we always try to visit for at least a day or two. You see, I grew up on the West Coast. My mother’s in Culver City. My sister’s in the Bay Area. I’ve got cousins in the San Fernando Valley, as well as in the Pacific Northwest. Being a freelance writer based in Detroit, I can’t always afford to make my way “back home,” so my mom’s work trips have turned into an efficient system to stay in touch.
This time around, her visit happened to fall on Eid and so were invited to one celebration, hosted by the Muslim Community of Western Suburbs. I had gotten to know members of the community over the past year or so through my reporting on Ramadan for the Detroit Metro Times and, more recently, here in Tostada Magazine.
In my nearly six years living in Michigan, I’ve come to learn that being asked to join in on such a special occasion is considered a huge honor. Whenever my non-Muslim friends are invited to a neighbor’s Iftar, for example, they revel in the chance to literally break bread and become more connected with one another. Here, I’m sharing some of my observations after witnessing my first Eid celebration, with photos shot by the talented Rizwan Lokhandwala (check out more of his work on Instagram).
After the Burton Manor gathering, many families continue on to brunch, house hop to each other’s homes and prepare for dinner with their own relatives.
My mom and I follow suit and dined at Le Petit Zinc, where we’re seated near another family dressed up, presumably coming from an Eid celebration of their own.
To be invited to participate in a tradition celebrated by more than 1 billion Muslims around the world reminds me that if we let go of our borders, we open ourselves up to a beautiful cultural exchange.