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As Good Friday, Passover, Ramadan Celebrations Converge, Communities Gather To Reflect

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) - One weekend, three major holidays: Good Friday, Passover, and ongoing Ramadan celebrations all converge. It's time for all communities to gather again.

On Good Friday, prayers and song fill the domes at the Basilica of Saint Mary as people pile into the pews after two Good Fridays apart.

"This is the first time really since 2019 Easter that we could come back," said Johan Van Parys with the Basilica of St. Mary's "For us, the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus is really the essence of our faith."

In the kitchen at Minnesota Hillel on the University of Minnesota campus, they're preparing a kosher Seder dinner for nearly a hundred students to mark the start of Passover.

"We do try and create a home atmosphere. We definitely see ourselves as a Jewish community on campus," said Rabbi Justin Held with Minnesota Hillel.

Each menu item is symbolic, and wrapped in memories.

"This is something I celebrated in my aunt and uncle's basement growing up," said Held "It's a way of remembering my grandparents and now my niece will be around the table with us and future generations will be around the table with us."

"The heart of the holiday is freedom," Held added. "Our duty as free Jewish people is to enjoy our freedom and see the communities who don't."

Ramadan celebrations are also ongoing, and it's extremely rare those would fall on the same weekend as Easter and Passover. It happens once about every 33 years.

"For two years we did not pray here, then last year we started and it was not that great," said Mahmoud Gamam, a Dar Omar Al-Farooq Mosque member who is happy to see people gathering again this Ramadan.

After years apart many at the Dar Omar Al-Farooq Mosque in Minneapolis are in the cycle of fasting, daily prayer then breaking fast at sunset, together.

"You want to feel hunger so that you can be in solidarity with people who have less, so you can elevate your level of compassion," said Ghazali Thompsen.

And at the heart of all three holidays is reflection wrapped in community.

Building Blocks of Islam, a nonprofit active in food shelves, emergency aid, and refugee resettlement, has a fundraiser in Mounds View Friday evening.

Mosque members say helping the less fortunate is also an important part of Ramadan.

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