The Eid-ul-Fitr 2021 is near, and there are lingering questions about how safely we can observe the day. The month of Ramadan is significant to the Muslim world. The holy Qur’an was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (SM) during this month from Allah. The Muslim world observes fasting, practises self-control, self-discipline and nurtures empathy towards the less privileged section of the society. The Eid is waiting like a big test to our self-control during the pandemic: Can we celebrate Eid within limited means that keep ourselves and others safe?
The month-long fasting comes with the joyful sighting of Eid's moon. The usual pre-celebration would be to shop for new clothes, prepare food, and gather around near and dear ones. The glad tidings of the day flow among all sections of people; we try to make the day as happy as possible. However, this year things look different when we weigh on changes that came with the pandemic.1. New clothes for Eid are heavenly but not a must-have. It is perfectly sensible to wear something already in the wardrobe as long as one dresses in clean clothes. The benefit of using the existing wardrobe is to avoid crowded shopping centres. These are times when everyone needs to do his or her part of what is right. Yes, people will still throng to the market, the ones heedless to the threats of Covid-19. You serve your nation better if you follow the health guidelines and avoid crowds unless necessary. Ramadan teaches us to reflect on the people who have next to nothing, and so instead of spending on the clothes that we may or may not wear in this pandemic-ridden world, why not give the money to benefit struggling families?
2. We can cut on Eid delicacies, and instead of five and six dishes of sweets, korma, and polao to lead us through the day, some of the money can go to charity. The pandemic has put people out of earnings in endless ways. Many families who might have had just enough to get by with their regular income have lost jobs. Not all people can ask for help, and looking around, one can such struggling friends and relatives who are helped through cash or kind. For our part, we can do the most to make Eid a good day for them, by sharing food. Sincere helping people comes from the heart, and when one has the intention to lend a shoulder, there is always a way.
3. Eid means, “Berani- ghurani- shemai- kopta and kaliya”. This part of the festive day is for us to respect elders and meet friends and relatives. Masks should be a top priority the moment one steps out of the home. Be creative with the mask; it is a part of life now, but make sure that the nose and the mouth are covered. Colour coordination with dresses, few bright patterns, and what not for the face mask? Who knows the great safety tool may soon be a part of some accessories that shake up the fashion world. ‘When life delivers lemons, make lemonade’ as is said.
4. If there is an Eid Jamaat, small or large scale, this year, the 'kola-kuli' is best avoided. As health experts suggest, ‘kola-kuli’ or the embracing puts two people in direct contact, and the virus rings alarms in such closeness. This year love and care can better be confirmed by standing apart, not by coming close.
5. Covid-19 is a virus that is still puzzling experts with its constant changes, the variants. There are cases of fully vaccinated people catching the virus. There is no guaranty that one vaccine could make us safer for a lifetime. Science is facing one of the biggest challenges to preserving the human race, it seems. We wonder if this is the end of the world with waves after waves of deaths taking lives. There is no end to being careful for our lives.
6. A large section of people in Bangladesh are not aware of the threats of the virus and defy health warnings of wearing masks and social distancing. As communities, we are safe when each of us is alert and observe the health precaution. We can do our part in bringing awareness to the people by educating them on the dangers of Covid-19.7. Eid get-together on Zoom is already in plans for many families, especially when members live across the other part of the globe. In Dhaka and other places across the country, if families refrain from travelling and meet on the Internet, everyone would be safer. In the past months, there have been surges with every holiday that gets people together. As India struggles with its massive death tolls, Bangladesh needs to practise extreme caution; the border to the big neighbour (open or close) is not far at all. The virus is not mindful of closed checkpoints or sealed airports; it is still a mystery.
8. Eid is supposed to be a blessed day, and 2021 demands added vigour to keep it so. In the past years, Eids jubilation and celebration might have marked the auspicious day; this year it calls for self-control.
9. I am confident my respected readers can add to how careful we should be. Let each of us be a light to show others the ways to a safer world in the pandemic. Eid Mubarak, may the world find peace.
Tulip Chowdhury writes from Massachusetts, USA.