Add this to the list of Hallmark holidays: Eid al
the greeting card company introduced a small line of
cards to mark the Muslim holiday celebrating the end of
the monthlong fasting season of Ramadan. The appearance
of Eid cards is another sign that the holiday is gaining
mainstream recognition in America.
The cards, featuring several colorful designs,
appeared in 500 retail stories nationwide. The demand
was certainly there. As of this week, the cards are
"pretty much sold out," said Deidre Parkes, publicist
for Hallmark Cards, which is based in Kansas City. There
are no plans to print more cards in time for Eid al
Fitr, but Hallmark probably will sell them again next
year. Hallmark.com also offers a few e-cards.
It's good business, with Muslims now the
fastest-growing religious group in the United States.
It's not hard anymore to scroll through Yahoo!
Greetings and other Internet sites to find cards wishing
"Ramadan Kareem" (Blessed Ramadan) and "Eid Mubarak"
(Happy holiday). IKEA, the trendy furniture store,
created ads for its Canadian Web site this year that
show Muslims gathering in their well-decorated homes to
celebrate Eid. Women with scarves covering their hair
are shown entertaining with trays of dates and other
sweets, and children play with toys advertised as "Eid
The public sector has noticed, too. Two years ago,
the U.S. Post Office began issuing an Eid stamp. A small
number of public schools in the country now close on Eid
al Fitr just as they do on Christmas and other holidays.
"Obviously, we see it as a positive sign that there
is a recognition of the Muslim community and its buying
power in the United States," said Ibrahim Hooper of the
Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington. But
the downside, he said, is that the gain for big
businesses such as Hallmark might mean a loss for
Muslim-owned small businesses that have created a niche
by selling Eid cards and other holiday-related items.
Islamicity.com, an online Muslim community with a
commercial bazaar, gets 1 million visitors a month and
twice that number during Ramadan, said its CEO, Mohammed
Abdul Aleem. Among the items sold on his Web site are
books, board games for children, dolls, prayer rugs,
Islamic art, jewelry and yes, greeting cards.
Aleem said he is not threatened by Hallmark's foray
into the Eid card business. He welcomes it.
"When American businesses are catering to the needs
of Muslims, it's an indication of the incorporation of
Muslims into the general society," he said. "Definitely,
it's a good thing."
Ramadan is a month on the Islamic calendar, a lunar
calendar. From dawn to dusk every day, Muslims abstain
from food, water and other sensual pleasures and pay
special mind to giving to charity, the hungry and the
poor. Ramadan concludes with Eid al Fitr. On this
festive day, Muslims perform special prayers, visit
friends and families' homes and feast together. Children
often receive Eid gifts, usually money.
Eid was on Monday or Tuesday, according to the
Islamic Center of Minnesota. The exact day depends on
the sighting of the new moon that signals the end of
Ramadan and the start of another month.
(Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service,