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Businesses can score big during Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr

August 31, 2011|By Tiffany Hsu, Los Angeles Times

The Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of Ramadan, could be a boon for businesses.

After a month of sunrise-to-sunset fasting for Ramadan, local groups reserved massive meeting spaces to launch festivities that started Tuesday and will continue into the Labor Day weekend.

In Orange County, alone, three major events marked the beginning of the holiday. The Islamic Society of Orange County used a 143,000-square-foot hall in the Anaheim Convention Center for morning prayer, the Islamic Institute of Orange County occupied Angel Stadium in Anaheim, and the Islamic Center of Irvine was at Orange County Great Park in Irvine.

During the rest of the week, some Muslim groups are pairing with vendors to offer special packages and discounts.

The Islamic Circle of North America will hold Muslim Family Day on Saturday at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia. Other groups will be celebrating at events at local mosques and at family entertainment centers and restaurants, said Marium F. Mohiuddin, spokeswoman for the Muslim Public Affairs Council.

According to recent posts on Twitter, Muslims around the world have been out shopping in force for Eid al-Fitr, buying flowers, sweets and gifts, such as cellphones, Wii games and Chanel products. Some shops have sold out of Eid greeting cards.

"Gosh, my hometown is like a zoo," wrote one tweeter. "So much people buying things for tomorrow's Eid day."

Marya Bange, project director in the community programs office at UCLA, said restaurateurs near mosques could capitalize on the holiday, as well as the preceding Ramadan month, by keeping later hours.

Because prayer sessions, after a day of fasting, can go late into the night during Ramadan, the faithful often seek out 24-hour restaurants and sandwich shops, Bange said.

"We wish that restaurants knew that people are super-hungry after prayer," she said. "They could cater to the community. It would be smart of them to do that."

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