LEWISTON — Hassan Alew sat in the barber’s chair Tuesday, getting groomed for Wednesday’s celebration of Eid, which marks the end of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting.

Dozens of men awaited their turns for haircuts at Major Cuts, a Chestnut Street shop run by Didier Mulumba.

Business was bustling as patrons prepared for Eid al-Fitr, a religious holiday celebrated by Muslims around the world.

“It is very important,” Alew said. “Eid is a time to get together.”

During Ramadan, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset for 30 days, from new moon to crescent moon.

Despite not having any nourishment for hours on Tuesday, Alew smiled as he spoke.

“I’m used to it,” he said. “Fasting is one of the pillars of Islam.”

On Eid, Muslims wear their best clothes, pray and break the fast with friends and family. Prayers on Wednesday morning will be held at the Lewiston Memorial Armory instead of the mosque to allow for a larger crowd.

The 30 days of fasting that lead to Eid are a time of devotion and self-reflection to become a better person, Muslims say. Exceptions to fasting are made for children and those with health issues. Fasting during Ramadan is required as a testimony to Allah.

At Montello Elementary School, interpreter Ahmed Ali said he fasts from 3 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. during Ramadan. He’s been fasting during Ramadan since he was 14.

“It’s all about commitment,” he said. 

During Ramadan, he and others go about their normal days. Ali goes to work. He works out. He goes to the mosque for hours of prayer.

Asked about hunger pains, he said, “I don’t think about it. I look normal, right?”

He was looking forward to Wednesday.

“On Eid, we call it ‘a happy day,'” he said. “We pray in the morning. After that, we have a good time with family and friends. We invite them in, share food, celebrate.”

Muslima Hassan was at Major Cuts with her son and nephew. She, too, was on her last day of fasting before Eid. The first five days of fasting are difficult, she said.

“After that, you get used to it,” she said. 

On Wednesday, she’ll do a lot of cooking for feasting with family and friends.

“We’ll go to Joker’s so the kids can play,” she said, adding that she’ll wear a special outfit.

“Mine is black and white,” Hassan said.

Barbershop owner Mulumba said he opened early Tuesday and would likely close late.

“It depends on how many people there are,” he said.


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