Muslims around the world are celebrating Eid al-Fitr — marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan — this week, for the second year during the pandemic.
For some, mosque closures, family separations and other restrictions due to COVID-19 in many countries have made Eid more subdued this year. But some people are observing Eid in new ways, or quietly at home.
We asked The World’s listeners to talk about what this time means to them and their families and to share their traditions and inspirations. Here's what some of them told us.
Cooking food from afar
Mary Johnson in Springfield, Massachusetts, says the pandemic has prevented her family from hosting large gatherings with friends and family for iftar during the month, but she has explored cooking foods from the other side of the world.
“My husband's from Morocco. I made some special Moroccan dishes. There's a special Ramadan energy powder that they make in Morocco called sfouf, and I made that this year. It has almonds and sunflower seeds and sesame seeds and all different types of spices. And then, you add traditionally butter and honey to it to sweeten it and make it moist, Johnson said. “But, I added olive oil and maple syrup, so I New Englandized it. I've really enjoyed having that with my family.”
Visiting over Zoom
Dr. Omar Habeeb, an American expatriate living in Auckland, New Zealand, who listens to The World’s podcast, says that this Eid, he will be celebrating the fact that he was able to observe Ramadan amid the pandemic. He feels lucky to be in New Zealand, considered by many a COVID-19 success story.
“My relatives in India will not be celebrating Eid the way that I will be able to over Zoom from New Zealand this year,” Dr. Habeeb said. “The one gift I wish I could give everyone for this year is the vaccine,” he said. “Inshallah we will be celebrating the success of our worldwide vaccination efforts for 2022.”
A special prayer
Twenty-year-old Muhsina Henderson, who was raised in Saudi Arabia, but currently lives in North Carolina, said one of her favorite parts of Eid is the prayer — it’s performed once a year very early in the day.
“The preparations and lead-up to the prayer definitely also play a role. Things like picking out the perfect Eid outfit, making goodie bags with my siblings to pass out at the masjid or the mosque. Even the anticipation of walking or driving to the mosque adds to the excitement, in a way,” Henderson said.
The World’s audio engineer Uzair Ahmed scored the music and mixed the sound for this story.