About 2,000 or more members of the Greater Portland Muslim community gathered at Portland’s Fitzpatrick Stadium on Wednesday morning to pray and observe Eid al-Fitr, the festival that marks the end of Ramadan – the Muslim holy month.

Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling and Portland Police Chief Michael Sauschuck welcomed the enormous crowd, which filled the field, and congratulated them on completing a successful Ramadan.

During Ramadan, adult members of the Muslim faith are required to fast between dawn and dusk for 30 days. Fasting is intended to bring the faithful closer to God and to remind them of the suffering of those less fortunate.

“The space (on the field) was filled. There were a lot of people,” said Dr. Abdullah Ahmed, assistant principal of Deering High School, who helped organize the event.

Ahmed estimated that more than 2,000 people attended the event, which began at 7:30 and ended at 10 a.m.

Ahmed said those who came to the stadium live in Portland and neighboring towns, and came to the United States from countries around the world. They are all keenly aware of the violent terrorist attacks that have taken place in Europe and Orlando, he said.

“It’s really a time to pray for peace and it’s a time of reflection and thanking God for all he has given us,” Ahmed said. “To be honest, a lot of us are in shock with what has been going on in the world.”

Ahmed said the ritual of Eid al-Fitr calls for families to feed another person. His family sent money to a needy family in Somalia.

“It’s a time to share, after feeling the pain (caused by fasting),” he explained.

Pious Ali, a member of Portland’s School Board, also attended Wednesday morning’s ceremony. “It was beautiful to see everyone out there to celebrate the end of Ramadan,” Ali said.

He said the 30-day fast reminds Muslims of how fortunate they are.

“When you fast, you get a taste of how people who don’t have as much as you live,” Ali said.

Imam Younus Alfayyadh led the people who attended the ceremony in prayer. Imam is the title given a person who lead prayers in a mosque.

Alfayyadh said he was impressed that both the mayor and police chief attended the event.

“It showed me the government is close to us, and they want us to be here,” Alfayyadh said. “We feel very welcome and comfortable in Portland.”

Strimling wished the crowd ‘Eid Mubarak’, which means congratulations, and he thanked Muslims for choosing to live in Portland because it makes the city “richer, smarter and a better place for all of us to live.”