What Celebrating Eid Under Quarantine Looks Like

Truth be told – I was expecting it to be a very difficult day full of sadness.

By

Zainab Damji
Art - Ameer Al-Khatahtbeh

 

Eid is the time of year when the masses come together to celebrate. The sheer spirit of Eid is visible in the streets –  people praying on the pavements because the mosque has reached capacity, swarms of cars parked outside houses indicating a huge family gathering taking place, and so on and so forth.  It is always a joyous, interpersonal occasion.

With the coronavirus pandemic however, much of our lives have changed – our routines have been uprooted, ‘normal’ is no longer normal and life is not as carefree. Naturally, as Eid rolled around and we all did our best to stay safe and follow precautionary measures; Eid in quarantine was inevitable.

Truth be told – I was expecting it to be a very difficult day full of sadness and longing, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that wasn’t the case. While I’ve tried to look at this whole pandemic from a positive perspective; I didn’t have to try very hard on Eid – it seemed to work out all on its own.

Eid prayers were held on Zoom and so our living rooms became masjids. Family gatherings still happened, they were just virtual, and you know what? Now that aunt that lives abroad didn’t feel so left out! Instead of taking your Mom’s signature baklava to an Eid party, you shared the recipe with all your friends, and they got to make it for their families in their kitchens!

This Eid, we’ve realized more than ever that it isn’t about food, or parties or even seeing each other; it’s about love and effort. So despite being in the same city as my cousins and not being able to visit them, I felt their love over our late night Zoom calls where we stressed every 20 minutes about losing sleep before having to wake for Eid prayers. Despite my brother being in a different continent, as he cooked up a storm of my mother’s traditional recipes in his LA kitchen,  it felt like he was with us at home. And while I couldn’t take any baked goods to Eid parties, I made sure to make a batch anyway and (safely) hand-deliver them to loved ones!

However, while we had the privilege of spending hours on Zoom calls, staying up late with those we share our homes with, enjoying their company – it’s important to remember that not everyone has those opportunities. Many Muslims live alone, some have gotten stuck abroad unexpectedly this year, and others may be in homes where they are not safe or comfortable. 

And let us not forget our Muslim healthcare workers who are working tirelessly on the frontlines, and while we may be saddened by our inability to visit extended family and friends, their daily reality is much worse.

Their personal sacrifice, dedication, and commitment to keeping us safe are testament to the values Islam has instilled in us, and on Eid, their service is a reminder of that. 

So today, if you’re reading this article from the comfort of your happy, safe and loving home – say a prayer for those who are not, and continue taking precautionary measures and staying safe for them. This year, Eid may have been different, but I am thankful for the experience as it has made me more gracious, self-aware, and humble. Eid Mubarak; may this coming year be filled with prosperity, success, and good health for us all.

READ MORE: Muslim Women Reflect On Ramadan Under Quarantine Through Art