Another major religious holiday was altered as coronavirus spread across the world barring gatherings of any size, but the Islamic Society of Milwaukee found a way to celebrate Eid al-Fitr together, which marks the end of fasting during Ramadan.

Instead of gathering for afternoon prayer and feasts, like Milwaukee Muslims would do most years, they gathered for a drive-through celebration.

About 400 cars pulled through the parking lot of the Islamic Society of Milwaukee, 4707 S. 13th St., where cars were decorated with balloons and window paint.

The constant noise of celebratory honking filled the lot and people shouted “Eid Mubarak,” which means “Blessed Eid,” as they passed each other.

“I was not expecting this,” said Mohamed Elshikh, who was driving through with his children packed in the back of his car. “We are happy to be out of the house and able to celebrate with others.”

Cars were lined down the block beginning at 20th and Layton beginning shortly after 10 a.m. before the 11 a.m. celebration. In the lot there were animals, magicians and trick performers. Families could enjoy breaking the fast together at a drive-up grill and children received candy and toys.

The Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition came up with the idea.

“A lot of us are mothers and everyone is thinking, well how can we make this a holiday for the kids to remember and make it fun?” said Janan Najeeb, who put together the event. “We were joking the kids are going to be so excited that when, hopefully, COVID is all over, they’re going to say they want this celebration again.”

Normally the holiday consists of Muslims joining for evening prayers every day for the month, culminating in a holiday prayer and people breaking into family celebrations at restaurants or family meals.

Not seeing members of the mosque for the whole month of Ramadan, which began April 23 in the United States, was possibly the biggest change for many who were there on Sunday.

“It’s nice to have everyone together again,” said Jehan Khaled, who was in a car with her parents and two younger siblings. The Cedarburg family drove up and had window paint that said “Eid Mubarak from the Khaleds.”

“It’s really a beautiful thing that we’re all here together at this celebration at the mosque and to see people,” said Jehan’s father, Ashraf.

Ela Ismail volunteered for the event and was holding a sign and waving to people as they drove through.

“I was born here and have been a part of this congregation my whole life, so I definitely wanted to come out and volunteer for this,” she said.

“This year was definitely different but it gave us a chance to focus on our relationships with God instead of relationships with each other,” Ismail said. “It was still a blessing.”