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Eid and Coronavirus

Eid-ul-Fitr is a festival that is long-awaited by all Pakistanis. Everyone gets excited to celebrate the biggest holy festival in the country, and therefore, the preparations begin.

A variety of foods are being cooked in households. Some wait for their guests to come. Some even celebrate with the whole family as they hold a get together for their loved ones. Markets are full of crowds when people are looking to buy the best clothes. Children are excited as they wait one whole year to get Eidi from their elders. 

Unfortunately, this year, it is not going to be the same. With coronavirus spreading all over the world and particularly increasing in Pakistan, Eid is not at all going to be the same this year. The day of Eid will not be as lively in the middle of being quarantined and strict lockdown restrictions being imposed in the country. Here are some of the aspects of how this year’s Eid will be different. 

Family Get Together

First of all, people away from their homes will not be able to celebrate Eid with their loved ones and have to stay away from home as public transport has restrictions or closed in some provinces. Therefore, they have to miss family gatherings and rather have a normal day. 

People are avoiding going out or meeting people without any reason due to the fear of the virus. This also means that they would not hold any family gatherings where uncles, aunts, cousins and grandparents greet each other a Happy Eid and have a lavish meal. This is sad news for kids as when the whole family comes together on Eid, they are sure to get Eidi from all of their elders. It is most likely that people are going to stay at home, not visit each other and rather have a normal day. 

Shopping

In the last ten days of the holy month of Ramadan, shops, markets, malls and bazaars are opened till dawn. Even after midnight, the shops and markets are crowded as people are looking to buy clothes, shoes, sandals, bangles and other essentials to complete the Eid festivities. However, this time, the colorful and lively sight of the markets will be missed by Pakistanis all over the country. 

When the festival of Eid is around the corner, the shops put on sale on their stock. In street markets, people quarrel with shopkeepers while bargaining. However, all of this is not possible for this Eid. This is because the markets are only allowed to be opened for a specific amount of time or are completely closed. This is because people do not want to expose themselves to the coronavirus and social distancing in such crowded markets is very difficult. Therefore, neither the markets are open nor are the people coming out shopping at this time. 

Eid prayer

Without the Eid prayer, Eid is not complete. It is a great feeling when the men of the house get ready early morning in their best clothes for the Eid prayer, while the women of the house wait impatiently for them to come. The authorities have not taken any decision yet regarding Eid prayer but the way mosques and religious gatherings were closed by the government during Ramadan, it is easy to interpret that the mosques will not be allowed to conduct Eid prayer. This is because crowds will be attracted. Moreover, prayer has to be offered to stand shoulder-to-shoulder so social distancing is not possible. 

Therefore, there is a huge possibility that the public will be told to offer Eid prayers at home and not in mosques or huge grounds. 

Eid Greetings

The way of greeting each other Eid is always special and unique as it unifies people in love and harmony. People hug each other thrice and then a handshake. However, the concept of social distancing defies this. In times like these, one has to stay away from each other and handshakes and hugs are forbidden. This year, one cannot even greet others properly because of the coronavirus. 

It was a sight to see after Eid prayer when everyone came out on streets, neighborhoods, and outside mosques and greeted each other a happy Eid, traditionally. However, at least for a year, the Pakistanis have to abandon this way and maintain distance. 

Charity

Muslims are ordered to give charity in the form of money, food and clothes to the needy and unfortunate. This is because they feel a sense of belonging and they also spend Eid celebrating in a good way. However, this year, this is happening on a very small scale. People are unwilling to step out of their homes and interact with people due to the lockdown and quarantine. Coronavirus has even stopped the sense of charity in society. 

Chand Raat

Chand Raat is the night before Eid. It is the night when everyone is glued to their television sets or on their house’s roof to see if there is Eid the next day. People leave their homes to markets and stalls to buy sweets and other last-minute things for Eid. Women and girls sit on the floors in various markets and henna are applied to their hands. The whole city is full of lights and every road and the market is crowded. Young boys set out for drives with their friends and come home late. 

The sight of Chand Raat this year will be very depressing for every Pakistani this year. There will be no women sitting in line, waiting for their turn to apply henna. No last-minute shopping will take place. All the roads will be empty as the shutters of the malls and shops are closed down. It is the most happening and lively night and time of the year when no one fears how late it is at night and this year no Pakistani will enjoy it. 

From a lot of aspects, Eid is going to be different this year. It is very depressing and saddening to know that the most-awaited and lively festival will not be celebrated as it used to. However, precautions must be taken as it is for our good and let’s hope that next year, Eid festivities can be completed like it used to. 

Afshan Riaz Bhayani
Afshan Riaz Bhayani

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