The Empire State Building in New York has lit up to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, the end of Ramadan.
During Ramadan, Muslims learn self-discipline, sacrifice, and empathy. Beginning upon sight of a new moon during the ninth month of the Muslim year, those who are able abstain from food, drink (including water), smoking, and sex from dawn until dusk until the next new moon.
Eid al-Fitr begins when the new moon at the end of Ramadan is seen. During the festival, the end of Ramadan is celebrated with food, charity, and prayer. The color green is believed to be Mohammed’s favorite color. One passage from the Quran says that people will “wear green garments of fine silk” in paradise.
In 2007, Eid-al-Fatr became the first Muslim holiday to be honored by the Empire State Building’s tower lights. In his speech at the Islamic Center of Washington, President George W. Bush emphasized the importance of the Muslim community.
“The spirit behind this holiday is a reminder that Islam brings hope and comfort to more than a billion people worldwide. Islam affirms God’s justice and insists on man’s moral responsibility. This holiday is also an occasion to remember that Islam gave birth to a rich civilization of learning that has benefitted mankind.
“Here in the United States our Muslim citizens are making many contributions in business, science and law, medicine and education, and in other fields. Muslim members of our Armed Forces and of my administration are serving their fellow Americans with distinction, upholding our nation’s ideals of liberty and justice in a world at peace.”
When the Empire State Building’s lights were replaced in 2012, 546 incandescent lights were replaced with over 1,200 new LEDs. Before the upgrade, the Empire State Building was limited to 10 colors, but with today’s LED technology, over 16 million colors can shine over New York.
The Empire State Building has been showing its colors in celebration since the 1976 Bicentennial, and lights up several times a year to celebrate different holidays. You can count on red, white, and blue on Independence Day, pastel fades for Easter, and a rainbow to celebrate New York City’s Pride Week. The Empire State Building Tower Lights calendar can be found here and tickets to the Main Deck on the 86th floor or the top deck on the 102nd floor can be purchased here.
Kullu am wa antum bi-khair!
(May you be well throughout the year!)
[Image via dcclothesline.com]