Eid during COVID-19, a unique digital affair – Puja Gupta

When it comes to meeting and greeting people, individuals are finding technological and virtual alternatives to keep Eid traditions alive. Virtual meetings over Zoom, WhatsApp, Facebook and other platforms have become the ‘new normal’ for people.

By Puja Gupta

While the entire nation is ‘home-sheltering’ and social distancing is the norm, it’s but obvious that Eid celebrations during the pandemic will be very different from what it used to be.

At the end of a month-long fasting in Ramadan, Eid-ul-Fitr is generally celebrated by the Muslim community in a rather grand way. What starts with the shopping of new clothes, gifts and sweets, ends with spotting ‘Eid ka chand’ and greeting people ‘Eid Mubarak’, feasting upon a wide spread of mouth-watering delicacies with friends and family is the highlight.

The pandemic-induced lockdown this year has restricted everyone to their houses and authorities along with the Imams across the country have asked Muslims to follow social distancing norms and offer Eid prayers from home.

While there will not be congregations at mosques, no meet and greet with family and friends, no parties, Eid will still be celebrated whole-heartedly. Despite all the hindrances, people across the country are trying to keep up the fervour and positivity.

Rokaiya Khanam, 20, a Political Science student of the Delhi University, says: “This is the first time in my life when I will be celebrating Eid on such a small scale. But nevertheless! The Quran says: If there is a situation when the world faces a pandemic, humanity is to be given priority over anything. Today, when the world is in a crisis situation and fighting a battle against the pandemic coronavirus, on Eid, we just pray to Allah to help us overpower this situation.”

As supply of food items and essentials in Lockdown 4.0 continue without any crunch, there is not much compromise being made as far as feasting is concerned.

Shaazia, a resident of Indirapuram, Ghaziabad, says: “These times are really difficult for all of us. Festivals are celebrated with family, relatives and friends. But keeping in mind the importance of social distancing in these times, Eid celebration will not be the same this year. As Eid is celebrated after one month of fasting there definitely will be sweet dishes and other food items. I’m lucky enough to have my parents and my li’l ones beside me, so we all will celebrate it together though not in a grand way.

When it comes to meeting and greeting people, individuals are finding technological and virtual alternatives to keep Eid traditions alive. Virtual meetings over Zoom, WhatsApp, Facebook and other platforms have become the ‘new normal’ for people.

“Eid is incomplete without the presence of our near and dear ones. But as we cannot invite anybody to our house and can’t visit anyone, I have planned a virtual meeting with my friends and relatives. We will be doing the morning prayer together and will have our Iftaar meal while being connected online,” says Wasim Khan, 34, from Guwahati, Assam.

As long as Eid shopping is concerned, people opted for e-commerce platforms which have started delivering even non-essential items in green, orange and even in red zones. Even ‘eidi’- gift or cash that is usually given to children by elder relatives and family friends as part of the celebration – is being sent online in the form of e-vouchers and e-cash.

(Puja Gupta can be contacted at puja.g@ians.in)

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