March 29, 2024

Eid al-Fitr celebrations abound in southwest Houston

Across southwest Houston, celebrations such as Bollywood performances, bazaars and poetry competitions are planned for early April as Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Though many Muslims choose to enjoy private parties at home, complete with food, family and friends, mosques and community groups across the Bayou City have worked to organize activities to foster a sense of excitement and community to commemorate one of the two major Muslim holidays.

Eid al-Fitr commemorates the end of a month-long dawn-to-dusk fast for observant Muslims.

Tazeen Zahida, a local writer, teacher and literary critic, will stage Eid Milan Bayt Bazi, a poetry competition on Saturday, April 21 at 3 p.m. at the Oasis Center located at 11222 Richmond Ave. near the International Management District.


Zahida is the founder of TeeZee Productions, Houston’s only South Asian theater company, which produces original works in the Urdu and English languages. Through her art, Zahida aims to shine a light on the stories of Black and indigenous peoples and other people of color.

The Eid poetry event is steeped in her South Asian Urdu culture. As a child she remembers people playing Bayt Bazi, which includes reciting couplets, or two lines, of Urdu poetry. The game starts with the first person reciting a stanza, or bayt, of a poem. Each following player has to reply with another verse starting with the last letter of the verse used by the previous player. No two verses can be used twice.

Judges at the Eid event award points based on accuracy and pronunciation as well as other criteria. The team with the most points wins.

Zahida said the poetry competition is a source of nostalgia for her.

“I’ve been doing this all of my life,” she said. “I come from a family of poets, and we used to compete on Eid because it was a very nice cultural way to celebrate.”

Zahida first staged the contest in Houston seven years ago. At the time she attracted several older participants. This go-round she hopes to bring in younger competitors.

She said about 40 people have already registered to attend. Besides the poetry match, they will be treated to an Eid-inspired monologue written by Zahida as well as a showcase of Urdu-language books by local authors.

To participate in the contest, contestants must register by March 31. Click here to secure your spot.

“If you have memorized and know Urdu poetry you are welcome to join us,” Zahida said.

Turkish Center

Nearby, the Raindrop Turkish House at 9301 W. Bellfort Blvd. in the Brays Oaks Management District will host its 17th annual Eid festival Wednesday, April 10 at 6 p.m.

Orhan Osman, president of the American Turkic Business Council, said he anticipates a good turnout

“(We’ll have) probably a little more than 1,000 people,” he said.

He said folks can expect a festival with an open playground for children to enjoy, along with face-painting. For adults, there will be music and a large variety of food and drink.

Though the Eid festival caps off Ramadan, the Turkish House has hosted Friday and Saturday night activities and food gatherings throughout the fasting month as part of its Ramadan Streets program. The weekend event begins at 6 p.m. and offers kids games as well as booth sales and a traditional bazaar.

For more information, visit Raindrop  or call 713- 974-1412.

Asia Society

The Asia Society Texas Center, in the Greater Southeast Management District,  is also planning its own Eid spectacular. Set for Saturday, April 13 from 12-4 at 1370 Southmore Blvd., the free event will feature food stalls, indoor games, a chance to try out henna designs and calligraphy, learn about Islamic art and browse a market showcasing local artists and small business owners.

But the Asia Society’s biggest draw may be two performances by Bollywood dance group Steps for Dancing, which will perform first at 1:30 p.m. and again at 3:30 p.m. Though the festival is free, the dance performances are $10 and require tickets.

Steps for Dancing, which was founded in 2018, focuses on Indian classical, folk dance and Bollywood-style dance. Both performances will be the same; there will be two time slots for entry into the building, 12-2 p.m. and 2-4 p.m.

For more information and to register for the festival and/or to purchase dance performance tickets, call 713-496-9901 or visit

— by Carissa Lamkahouan