By Sushma Lobo
Eid al-Fitr is here -with millions of people in the UK and around the world celebrating today, and because of the restrictions imposed to limit the spread of coronavirus in the UK and across the world, celebrations will be very different this year.
London May 24 (SL/BAN) Millions of people usually attend UK’s Eid celebrations in all the cities. For example, in 2018, a record 140,000 people attended a Eid event in Small Heath Park, Birmingham where there are prayers, food and activities including a funfair.
Worshippers go to local mosques and see their families. But this year’s Eid will be very different because of the coronavirus restrictions. All mosques are closed, and public gatherings are not allowed.
A message from Counillor Muhammed Butt leader of Brent council.
So how will Eid be celebrated this year?
Alone, Together: Religious communities are embracing technology during the lockdown. Morrisons launches Eid food box to help customers celebrate end of Ramadan at home. Communities are sharing food parcels with their neighbours and people in need, and for the first time in many years people have spent the 30 days of Ramadan together as a family with the basics at home-just like how it was back in the 70’s and 80’s when we were all growing up.
British Asia News speaks to Sarah Bashir-Khan MBE, who is celebrating Eid at home with her family and asked her how fasting for Ramadan was different during the global coronavirus pandemic?
“Ramadan in the pandemic has meant I have been able to give more focus to my religion, usually it is juggling work as a mum and wife making sure we are ready to open the fast. This unusual time has meant we have been able to spend more time with the family, I have always been interested in finding out more about my faith, I have now had the opportunity to learn. It’s been lovely to navigate with my children their different thoughts and questions on faith.
The true essence of Ramadan greeted us this year, usually we spend time making amazing dishes etc, this year we had to make do with what food we have had at home, no pressure, everyone has been relaxed and appreciating the food available and simplicity has been good.
The children are growing up in a fast generation and to see the simplicity and family being together for 30 days has made them appreciate.
It has made us more giving and appreciate, because in some places around the world there are people who can’t even break their fast.
The kids this time have had time to reflect and have decided to donate their own money during this Ramadan, it has made them think about more about people around.
Since they were little, we have never had a Ramadan where all 30 days have been spent together, I have savoured every single day and captured as many memories as I could.
We have connected with family via facetime video calls and this has been nice. It has been negotiating ways of how to make them feel better, interact with the family via tech etc.
Ramadan for us is a month of looking out for others, think about people who don’t have enough, there has been a lot of charity work going on, giving food parcels this year, supporting the vulnerable. I will be able to spend more time decorating as we are more relaxed and will be trying to capture via photos, texts videos for them to see later as memories. This year they are so much more excited and wanting to get ready, all dressed up, eat together, make and share memories”.
British Asia News also spoke to Aalya Rehman from Little One Childminding in Bradford, and asked how the pandemic impacted the holy month of Ramadan for her and her family, she said “There were no time constraints, this year as usually we are majorly sleep deprived, we have work and family duties. But this Ramadan we were able to rest whenever we needed to and pray at the times we needed to.
Life was not a rush this Ramadan, however I think lots of men would have been feeling it more as they have more of a connection with the mosques. As a result the daily normal prayers and the special Taraweeh prayers are all being prayed at home.
Then there is the community aspect so inviting and being invited for iftar (opening of the fast), this has not been possible due to COVID-19.
During these unusual times our neighbours were a little unsure at first whether they should give food out daily, but we sent it on the first day and then everyone started giving it too.
Lots of people are choosing to distribute pre-packaged food, which is also nice and different. There is a huge incredible increase in helping others. Our charity AALYA (Always Around Lending You A hand) has been very busy giving food packages out to the elderly and vulnerable. Lots of mental health patients have been in touch this time.
The council are also doing food parcels but they give it on a next day basis so cant react immediately whereas we can and so we have.
We are looking after around 35 refugee families that have very recently arrived to the UK and have no access to public funds and only get £5 a day. Delivering food parcels weekly, we have met some really needy and vulnerable people and it’s been really sad when we get there, and they start crying because they have literally had nothing and no one to turn to. These have been mainly mental health patients, it has made this Ramadan more meaningful being able to help the community and vulnerable. As a family we are all looking forward to celebrating Eid today”.
This year Ramzan the holy month of fasting by Muslims worldwide during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar was different and as we read above, it was appreciated with the basics, more giving, more time, and having more connection with the faith
As Muslims across the globe celebrate Eid today on Sunday May 24th 2020 British Asia News wishes you all a happy Eid and Eid Mubarak.