Celebrating an Eid like no other

How will celebrations differ this year?

Muslims around the world will be enjoying Eid al-Adha today, the second of two big celebrations of the year. With some lockdown restrictions yet to ease and the usual gatherings still not allowed, celebrations this year look a lot different to what the community is used to. By Sadia Nowshin.

What is Eid al-Adha?

To give you a summary of what’s being celebrated, this Eid marks the date where it’s said the Prophet Ibrahim was told by God to sacrifice his first born son Ismail. Ibrahim was ready to submit to the command, but God stopped him and revealed it was a test of faith, which he had passed. Both the Bible and the Torah recount a similar event, just with slightly different names.

How do I wish someone a happy Eid?

Don’t overthink it: Happy Eid or Eid Mubarak (muh-bar-ruk) will do, and the sentiment will be appreciated even if the pronunciation isn’t quite there.

Usually, my family dress up in new clothes and meet in my grandparent’s house, where there’s always a lot of great food. I’m glad a lot of my extended family live close by, because it’s always a nice day to celebrate together.

Last Eid, which marked the end of Ramadan, was a lot different to the norm. Instead of gathering to eat around the same table, one household-worth of family visited the end of our drive and we had a chat from the doorstep. In lieu of sitting inside my grandma’s house, we got to the garden through the back gate and stood metres apart. It wasn’t the ideal celebration, but it didn’t stop us from dressing up!

As part of marking the occasion, people will often give to charity, distribute food to the poor in their origin country or otherwise support those in need. Giving to charity is one of the five integral pillars of the religion, and this year it feels like that’s more important than ever before.

There’s also a special prayer that men usually go to the mosque for: while some mosques have reopened with strict social distancing and are running the prayer in accordance with guidelines, a lot of people will choose to do it at home this time.

What are you up to today?

Why, thanks for asking.

Once I finish work for the day a couple of hours early, I’ll get ready for the inevitable photoshoot in the garden, for which my 16-year-old brother is the begrudging photographer. After a big lunch, which my mum will mention at least three times she spent hours preparing, we might go and sit in my grandma’s garden and enjoy the sun with the baked goods I made yesterday.

It should be a nice chill day. The sun is out for it, so we can’t complain – and all the sunshine will make for a good picture for Instagram, so it’ll be worth struggling through the heat 😉.

Are you celebrating today? What are you up to?