Celebrating a different Eid this year

Muscat: As Coronavirus has affected every aspect of life, the Eid al Fitr also will be different this year. Muslims in Oman and all other Islamic countries are bracing for a different Eid.

The precautionary measures imposed by the countries to prevent the transmission of infection and prohibition on movement and mass gathering will give the celebration a new dimension.

Many of the rituals of Eid al Fitr will be absent this year, in addition to the local customs and traditions that Omanis have been accustomed to over the past years, missing the atmosphere, smiles and joy.

In light of the ongoing pandemic and the decisions to cancel Eid gatherings and ‘stay at home’, people will have to perform Eid al Fitr prayers in their homes as Eid Takbeer may be raised in mosques via loudspeakers.

Since Corona restricted handshaking, kissing and hugging between friends and relatives to limit the virus spread months ago, it will not possible even on Eid to exchange blessings and congratulations in person, and this will be limited only through phones.

Smartphones, instant messaging applications, and social media will offer a possibility of fast electronic and virtual communication of exchanging greetings in multiple ways ‑‑ through written texts, photos or video clips. These methods were there, but prevalent among those who are far away like expatriates and travellers. The Covid-19, however, has made it a new normal for everyone. The expressions of the social relations have to depend on this, even if it is a short-time arrangement.

One of the most popular rituals that will be missed this time is ‘Eidiya’, money gift mainly to children on the morning of Eid day.

One of the traditions that is still alive in Oman and other Gulf countries is children visiting the houses of grandparents, uncles and aunts, along with their parents to get their feasts by hand as a material embodiment of love that connects everyone in the days of joy.

However, some types of Ediya are symbolic or can be given as gifts. Eventually they make the pockets of children warm as they feel the meaning of the Eid, and interdependence and compassion shown more widely.

Nevertheless, the presence of bank transfers, the bank applications on smartphones and computers, may guarantee the continuation of Eid to those who wanted to ensure that the smile is drawn on the faces of children and those who used to get Eidya in the early hours of Eid Al Fitr. It may also be obtained in cash from those inside the house.

Some people also used to have Eidya in the form of decorated and colorful gifts for children, food, sweets and toys. Because of the pandemic, it may be difficult to provide them in person, yet, the wide range of electronic stores may help to deliver any request, so children can live the joy of Eid as usual.

The occasion of Eid means a lot to the children. But due to the closure of public parks, beaches, hotels and restaurants, amid the application of social distancing, families will face the challenge of how do they make the most of the time they spend with their children indoors.