Say Eid-ul-Adha and the first thing that comes to mind is a big festival. It’s one of the biggest on the Islamic calendar.
The COVID-19 Eid festival won’t be celebrated in congregation or at open air eidgars. Governed by restrictions, social distancing, and regulations, this year the Eid will be a truly unique one.
Unlike Hajj, which has been cancelled several times and for a number of years in the past. There are no obvious records to show that Eid has ever been cancelled.
In some incidents, Eid congregations have been subjected to attacks, but nothing compares with the total cancellation of Eid celebrations we are experiencing this year.
THE JOY OF MOONSIGHTING
One thing that won’t be affected is the joy from looking for the Eid moon. The excitement amongst the family looking through windows, on balconies or standing in the garden looking towards the evening sky, the first one to see it is the winner!
Alhamdulilah, this tradition hasn’t been affected by the virus. Even isolated within our homes, families will still get to share the joy of seeing the new moon. Then, once sighted, the social media flurry takes over!
Once sighted and confirmed by authorities, something else that remains the same despite virus restrictions is social media engagement. The pinging sound of message alerts go off on family members’ phones with messages of Eid Mubarak.
Phones are put on speaker phone for both parties to extend their sentiments, the excitement is building up! The Internet, social platforms, and apps on our mobile devices and laptops help build a virtual ummah. We will have a massive virtual gathering, a virtual Eid.
THE FEAST OF EID
This year, unlike previous years the Eid menu may remain the same with family favorites and traditional food to look forward to – the only difference being that it will be cooked on a smaller scale.
There will be less relatives and friends dropping in for a quick visit and a bite to eat. For Eid cooks, perhaps not such bad news. The Eid feast may not involve as many hours in the kitchen on the day of Eid or the eve.
This year’s Eid ul Adha will be a cosy dinner around the table just the nuclear family. No, stacks of plates and crockery to wash up, no huge pots to soak just a manageable family dinner.
Each family has their own Eid traditions. Perhaps yours includes applying henna or giving kids money gifts from aunties and uncles.
This year you may want to be a little creative. One thing to consider is setting up a decorated Zoom corner to add festiveness to your calls. Similar to a throne at a wedding banquet, dress up an area with a sofa or love seat, reserving it for your video greetings.
As much as adults are feeling the lockdown and restrictions of not being able to go out during the month of Ramadan, children are still playful and the sense of not being able to play outdoors makes this a Ramadan to remember.
With no parks to go to, no school or playgrounds children will feel confined. So, knowing there will not be a celebration as in previous Eids to look forward to, will put them down.
However, by sharing Eid activities such as making crafts like lanterns or moon and star chains to string across the living room may help. Reading bedtime stories about Eid will take them on an imaginary journey. Even teaching them about how other regions celebrate Eid can be lovely.
VIRTUAL EID GATHERINGS
We are used to the excitement and atmosphere of getting ready with our new outfits, the children looking great and venturing out in the early morning on Eid day to attend salat ul Eid at the mosque or attend an Eidgar.
O you who have believed, seek help through patience (sabr) and prayer. Indeed, Allah is with the patient.
Should restrictions still apply, this is when the entire global ummah will feel the impact of COVID19 – on the day of Eid. If restrictions stay in place, we will have the option to engage others on the internet to have a virtual Eid. Sitting in our homes in front of screens, chatting with friends and family.
1441 will be an Eid for the history books with many Muslims looking forward to next year when, inshaa Allah, we will get to celebrate it as we have always done. Standing shoulder-to-shoulder in the mosques and at open-air gatherings with a deeper appreciation because 1441/2020 was a historic virtual Eid.