More than 150 campus and community members gathered at Union South on September 8 to celebrate Eid al-Adha, organized by La Follette School student Razan Aldagher, president of UW–Madison’s Muslim Students Association.
Eid al-Adha, the second of the two Islamic holidays, commemorates Prophet Abraham’s spirit of sacrifice and intense devotion to God. The official holiday was September 1 – the 10th day of Zul-Hijjah, the 12th month of the lunar calendar.
“We decided to host an event on the first weekend of the school year to welcome students and introduce MSA members and the Muslim community,” said Aldagher, a master of public affairs student from Kuwait.
History Professor Charles Cohen spoke about the similarities of the Abrahamic religions, told the story of Abraham’s sacrifice, and explained the holiday’s importance to Muslims. Wisconsin Union Directorate Cuisine and the Malaysian Students Association assisted with various aspects of the celebration, which received funding from Associated Students of Madison and the General Student Services Fund.
We expected about 80 students to attend and were super excited to have almost double that – including many community members,” said Aldagher, who added that many wore traditional clothing. Many who attended were non-Muslim students who wanted to learn more about the Muslim holiday or who were invited by their Muslim friends. “We are very grateful for all of the support we received.”
The Eid al-Adha celebration differs from culture to culture, Aldagher said, but the common denominator among all cultures is the slaughtering of a lamb and distributing the meat among family, people in need, and other community members.
Aldagher received a bachelor’s degree in economics from UW–Madison in 2016, and she hopes to reconstruct and revitalize the Ministry of Education when she returns to Kuwait. During her graduate studies, Aldagher is focusing on educational reform and energy economics in the Gulf Cooperation Council and developing countries.