Celebrating Eid

Fahmida Suleman of the ROM helped Canada Post in the creation of an Eid stamp—a religious holiday that promotes empathy and appreciation of humanity at large

The Islamic religious holiday, Eid al-Adha, meaning the “Festival of Sacrifice,” will be celebrated this week from 20 to 22 July by Muslims around the world, including over one million Canadians.

Eid al-Adha marks the end of the Hajj pilgrimage, during which millions of Muslims journey to one of the holiest sites in Islam—the Ka’ba in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. This festival also honours the prophet Ibrahim (Abraham), a revered figure within Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, for his willingness to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God. According to the story as narrated in the Qur’an and in Hebrew and Christian scriptures, before Ibrahim could sacrifice his son (identified as Ismai’il in the Islamic tradition and Isaac in the Jewish and Christian traditions), God substituted a lamb to sacrifice instead. This is why Eid al-Adha is also referred to as the Eid al-Kabir or the “Greater of the two Eids.”

The second major Islamic festival is Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting. Both festivals embody basic Islamic practices and values, including empathy and sacrifice for those in need and appreciating one’s community and greater humanity. These values are expressed through communal prayers and feasts, gift giving, and charitable acts and donations for those less fortunate.

To commemorate these important events in the Islamic calendar, Dr. Fahmida Suleman, the ROM’s Curator of the Islamic World collections, and Dr. Anver Emon, Director of the Institute of Islamic Studies, University of Toronto, have assisted Canada Post in the creation of an Eid stamp.

The design of this year’s stamp by Toronto-based firm Context Creative features a crescent moon and stars seen through an arched window with a latticed jali screen. This iconography is particularly meaningful as each month of the Islamic lunar calendar commences with the sighting of a new moon. This is the third stamp in Canada Post’s ongoing series marking Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha with exciting designs already in progress for the 2022 and 2023 issues under the intellectual and creative guidance of Dr. Suleman and Professor Emon.