For The First Time, Party City Is Offering Supplies To Celebrate Ramadan's End
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
Many Muslims around the country are celebrating Eid al-Fitr today, marking the end of Ramadan. The day started with prayers, then lots of eating and socializing after a month of fasting.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Everybody who got more coffee? Happy Eid. Eid Mubarak.
CORNISH: This year, for the first time a major retailer is helping in the festivities. Party City, the source of many Halloween costumes, pinatas and party favors, has offered an array of items made just for Eid.
MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:
And that is where Rabiya Khan (ph) of York, Pa., bought her decorations.
RABIYA KHAN: And I loved them. The plates were really nice colors. They had a really pretty design of a mosque, came with matching napkins, a tablecloth. And it turned out great.
CORNISH: Another person who went shopping at Party City is Zainab Chaudry. She works at the Council on American Islamic Relations in Maryland. She says, in years past, she resorted to repurposing other holiday decorations to make them fit the occasion.
ZAINAB CHAUDRY: For the longest time we have used Christmas decorations. We usually string up lights and lanterns and, you know, different kinds of decor around our house.
KELLY: The Houston Chronicle asked Party City's president of retail about the new Eid line. He told them the company was simply listening to its customers. It saw an opportunity to fill an underserved category of party-good items.
HAROON LATIF: Muslim consumers are quite a large group. There's close to 5 million Muslims in the U.S.
KELLY: That's Haroon Latif of the advisory firm Dinar Standard. He says, until recently, many retailers have not focused on the Muslim American market for two reasons. One, he says they simply might not have known about the potential. And two...
LATIF: There might be fears of a backlash from non-Muslim consumers that may be keeping some of the brands, retailers and such away from publicizing the opportunity.
CORNISH: Party City's plates and banners are part of a larger trend. Hallmark makes Ramadan cards. Macy's carries an Islamic fashion line. Zainab Chaudry says she's sure this was a sound business decision for Party City, but it's also much appreciated.
CHAUDRY: It's great to have more access to decorations and to see, like, the mainstreaming of the faith of millions of Americans who practiced this month, who observed the holy month of Ramadan. It sends a strong message that retailers are paying attention.
CORNISH: That's why, she says, the photos she took of her Party City Eid banners went viral when she posted them to social media.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: (Singing in Arabic). Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.