Eid is known to be a very social celebration as Muslims traditionally gather together with family and friends and basically enjoy each other’s company while celebrating the end of fasting.
Obviously due to quarantine, Eid felt a bit off since Muslims couldn’t hang out with their friends and relatives as usual, but some Muslims found a unique and cool way to celebrate while being at home.
The game Animal Crossing: New Horizons has been on the rise due to its modern and lifelike simulation where you get to create your own island and also socialize and communicate with other users virtually.
These Muslims all came together virtually in the game and celebrated their Iftars and Eid together.
Rami Ismail (@tha_rami) was one of the Muslims who spent iftars and celebrated Eid on Animal Crossing. According to Ismail, not all of the days were consistently the same for his friends on Animal Crossing. He said, “For suhoors and iftars, it varied per day I organized the gatherings. Some days felt very ‘normal’ – people talking, laughing, and discussing their lives. Some days were more game-like with lots of running around and playing.”
It's hard to believe - but that was also the final @animalcrossing Suhoor and Iftar gathering! I organized them every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday - and Ramadan ends this weekend.— Rami Ismail (@tha_rami) May 22, 2020
From everyone present at this last gathering, and from myself, #EidMubarak ! pic.twitter.com/xY1YT4pj09
Obviously communicating in a game isn’t the same as social interaction, but in the situations we are in right now this is a good way of keeping in contact with others and making Iftar and Eid feel as real as possible.
Ismail also mentions how he was “disappointed” as he says he had to build everything for the celebration himself – holidays like Christmas or Easter already have set ups.
He said, “Animal Crossing is a game that is meant to feel homely and it usually succeeds, but when it comes to culture it is homely to Western, Christian, and Japanese people.” He also described what his first ideas of spending Eid on the game were.
Ismail’s friends that joined him for the Animal Crossing experience were a mix of Muslim and non-Muslims that he met from his travels. He states that he loved explaining to the group of what the meaning of the moon in relation to Eid is, as well as what Ramadan is all about, since he only had one other person fasting with him.
The celebrations were made more interesting considering Animal Crossing stands true to realistic simulation, as the moon in the game is the same phase as the moon in real life.
Another Muslim, Ahmed Ali Akbar (@radbrowndads), decided to take his Eid on Animal Crossing and Zoom. Akbar explained that along with dressing up in the game, he and his cousins who were also playing from all around the country dressed up in real life as well.
Akbar wasn’t completely by himself as he had his wife, his uncle, and his father in the household with him to celebrate and enjoy the day.
As if in person, Akbar and his cousins were taking pictures – except they were taking pictures of them in the game as their characters, which was apparently a hassle to do according to Ahmed. Despite the difficulties, it was still one of the most memorable experiences for him.
Both Ismail and Akbar had a beautifully decorated setup for each of their “parties.” Animal Crossing may not exactly have Islamic clothing yet but they have some nice options that could resemble it.
Eid was still able to be celebrated safely, whether it was through other virtual games or even just through video calling, proving that Eid is more than just a lot of people being under one roof.