We are having another Eid under the shadow of Covid-19. The virus is very much around, raging as wildly as last year, probably more since there are fewer restrictions and not a strict lockdown at the moment. Thus we need to be extra cautious and not misuse the freedom we have now, and do away with Covid-19 SOPs as we celebrate Eidul Fitr.

Okay, I realise I am sounding too sermonising and serious about a time of the year that is supposed to be the happiest, with a lot of celebration. But don’t worry and do not stop reading. I am going to turn to lighter things and fun ways in which we can still enjoy ourselves while staying safe.

Yes, we deserve to enjoy ourselves on Eidul Fitr after completing successfully the blessed month of Ramazan. And it was also a tough one since we are at the peak of summer, as well as fighting a global pandemic. Like we are learning to live life in a ‘new normal’ — with social distancing, masks, sanitisers, online classes, vaccine, etc. — we need to adapt ourselves to a ‘new normal’ way of celebrations. Since we did go through a similar situation last year, though we thought things would be better and different this year, we can continue with the lessons learnt then and celebrate this Eid in fun, yet safe, ways.

Let us check what these safe practices are, though I am sure you all know them and are also doing these things, it is always good to be reminded time and again.

Dress up and decorate

Dress up, even if there is nowhere to go. Staying indoors, or not having Eid lunches and dinners does not mean you should stay in your pyjamas just because you are home.

Dress yourself up and your house, just as you did in better days in the past. It will brighten up your day and keep your mood light. Moreover, we are not in a strict lockdown state, so some kind of socialising with proper precautions and SOPs can be done.

Pray with caution

Though by the time you will be reading these lines, you would have been over with your Eidul Fitr prayer. Those of you who went to the mosque for the prayer, I hope you wore your mask, took your own prayer mat and maintained a safe distance from others. These are the things you should be mindful of when praying in the mosque.

Since deciding to pray at the mosque or at home is a very personal decision, I will leave it to you to decide, but will just remind that you should keep all the SOPs in mind when you are in a crowd.

Celebrate on a small-scale

Eid is a communal celebration, bringing together families, friends and the whole Muslim community. But Covid-19 has turned everything in our lives upside down and made it necessary for us to maintain a safe distance from others for their safety and our own. And this is very hard to do on happy occasions, like Eid.

We need to keep our gatherings small and safe, because you never know who can be carrying the virus. And this is especially important when meeting older family members such as grandparents, because they can become seriously ill if infected with Covid-19. Since grandparents and elders in the family are very emotional and can throw caution in the air to express their love, it is best for the younger ones to be firm in maintaining a safe distance and not hug anyone.

Have an outdoor sitting arrangement

Since an indoor setting is more likely to spread the virus if someone has it, it is best to go for an alternative option, if there can be one.

If you have a lawn, terrace or rooftop, set it up nicely with chairs and some decorations to serve as a meet-up area for guests, instead of having people in the usual indoor sitting room. I am sure your guests will not mind it when they realise that it is to keep everyone safe.

Sanitise and disinfect

Wherever you are entertaining guests, and just inside the entrance of the house, do keep a bottle of sanitiser so that people can use it often. Guests will actually feel more comfortable that they can use it on coming and going from your house.

And after any guest leaves, use some disinfectant in a spray bottle and spray it on the surfaces that were touched or used by the guests or anyone who is not living in your household. It is a safe practice that should continue even on regular days.

Gather virtually

By now we are all well-versed in connecting virtually with others, so that should be your first choice on Eid too. Set up virtual family get togethers or make video calls, this way you can all see each other, show off your Eid clothes and send virtual hugs, without feeling left out and cut off.

Remember the sick and the deceased

Many people right now are not well, and many loved ones have passed away in the last year or so. There are many families who are mourning their loved ones and this Eid for them is a harsh reminder of those who are gone. They are not celebrating.

We all should remember those who are not well and those who are gone and pray for them. And if there are such people in your family or friends’ circle, do call them, pray for the health of the ill ones and the peace for the departed ones. It is a tough time for many families and you should show your care for them in any suitable, but safe, way.

Stay hydrated

Since it is very hot these days, when you do go out, make sure to carry a bottle of what with you so that you can take sips and keep yourself hydrated. And, of course, not to forget sunglasses and cap during daytime.

Play and share

Plan some activities for the family so that you can sit together and have some fun, rather than each person being busy staring at the screen of their gadgets.

Play some board games or guessing games with the whole family. Watch movies or some show. At dinner time, set up the table as if it is a nice formal dinner and treat your own selves to a party. Who says you can’t be a host and the guest too?

Relax and chill out

The weeklong Eid holidays have been given by the government to make us stay home and stay safe, so just relax and not take it as an excuse to over-socialise and put yourselves and others in trouble.

If you start to feel down about all the things that you are not able to do due to the pandemic, just stop for a moment and think of those who fell prey to Covid-19 and are not here today to enjoy Eid in any form. Think of the void that has been left in their family. This will make you realise how lucky you are to be here today to celebrate Eid, even if at home. Whenever you feel sorry for yourself over anything you don’t have, start to think about all that you do have and you will soon realise how lucky and fortunate you are.

A very blessed and safe Eid to you all.

Published in Dawn, Young World, May 13th, 2021

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