Even the newest addition to the Shamma family, 1-week-old Leyla, came out to the ADAMS Center in Sterling yesterday to celebrate the end of Ramadan.
Family members came from as far as San Diego to see the new baby and to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, the end of a month of fasting.
"We just had 10 days of intense worship," said Riyad Shamma, 36, who flew in from Cincinnati. "Now, it's time for us to rest, relax and enjoy time with family."
For many Muslims, Eid al-Fitr is a chance to catch up with friends and loved ones. That certainly was the case yesterday, as hundreds of Muslims from across the region celebrated at the center in Sterling with food and festivities.
"Religious holidays everywhere bring you closer to God, to your family and make you think of your place in the world," said Isabel Showkatian, 45, of Vienna who came with her three daughters.
During Ramadan -- which typically lasts 29 or 30 days depending on the position of the moon -- adults and teenagers fast and abstain from vices from sunrise to sunset. Traditionally, Muslims eat a date to break the fast and then pray.
"The purpose is to strengthen faith in God and to understand the misfortune of those who don't have a dinner to look forward to," said Rizwan Jaka, president of ADAMS, the All Dulles Area Muslim Society. "One of the things we try to understand is the suffering of those that cannot have a meal every day." Charity during the month is amplified in the eyes of God, Jaka said.
The last 10 days of Ramadan are marked by heightened spiritual intensity and culminate with Eid al-Fitr, which fell on Thursday. On that day, thousands of Muslims, many wearing colorful traditional clothing, prayed at Fair Oaks Mall in Fairfax, the National Conference Center in Landsdowne and area churches and mosques.
Friends and family came together for a less formal celebration at the ADAMS Center yesterday. Inside, vendors sold perfumed oils, ornate religious artwork and CDs of Koranic recitations. A table with steaming rice and chicken drew the longest line.
Outside, the moonbounce attracted the most fans.
Mecca Misbah, 4, ran breathlessly to her mother, Ainsa, after her third time on the inflatable attraction.
"Did you see me? I did a back flip!" she said before running off, probably to wait in the long line again.
"Basically, it's for the kids," Ainsa Misbah said.