Eid celebrations bring hospital communities together
Hundreds of staff, families and patients have come together across The Children's Hospital at Westmead and Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick to celebrate Eid al-Fitr.
The three-day Muslim holiday marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. It is seen around the world as a time for the Muslim community to celebrate the completion of the month of fasting as well as reflect and rejoice in the strength, health and opportunities available to them thanks to Allah.
Traditionally, Eid al-Fitr is celebrated together with friends, family and relatives at the mosque or in a park but with many patients unable to leave hospital, the celebration was instead bought to them.
Both hospitals across the Network hosted morning teas for the occasion, with patients, families and staff from all cultures and religions encouraged to take part.
"Eid is about sharing, caring and the act of giving and that’s what we wanted to achieve in our celebrations," Anwar Al-Barq, Islamic Chaplain, said.
"It’s an ancient tradition to share a meal and it was a joyous moment for us to see so many families, staff, friends and colleagues all come together over something simple like this, sharing a smile and spending the time to get to know one another."
Sheikh Yahya Safi, Imam of Lakemba Mosque, who attended celebrations at Westmead, said the event highlighted the essence of Eid by bringing people from all walks of life together and giving back to those in need.
"It means a lot to be involved in this celebration because it gives these families and children the opportunity to create really strong bonds with the community and to share in the festival at a time when they otherwise may not be able to," Sheikh Yahya Safi said.
"Islam stresses the importance of helping the weak, the poor and the sick so to help put a smile on the faces of those who are suffering from an illness or weakness is very special."
For our chaplains, the celebration of Eid extends beyond the holiday itself though. It further reinforces the importance of maintaining connections and care for each other throughout the whole year.
"As chaplains, we want to wish well for the families who are battling sickness and illness, wish well for the children and pray they will get better and recover fast and wish well and express our gratitude to all our staff and colleagues," Anwar said.
"I see the level of care given by staff but it's important to make sure that we are also looking after each other and providing self-care so we can continue to do the very best for our patients and families."
Special thanks to Lebanese Muslim Association, Mina Bakery Westmead Sabih Sweets Punchbowl and Al Aseel for supporting our Eid celebrations across our two hospitals.