Ramadan and the subsequent Eid-ul-Fitr celebration are special occasions to the Muslim community here in T&T and all around the world. This year, Ramadan began on the evening of April 24th and may end on the evening of May 23rd (once the moon is sighted). That means the Eid-ul-Fitr celebration is scheduled for May 24th.
The holy month of Ramadan usually means a time of fasting, prayer, and togetherness. A typical Ramadan day involves fasting from food, and liquids (yes, even water) from just before dawn to dusk. At the time of fast breaking, Muslims would visit the homes of fellow Muslims or go to mosque with their families to break fast, pray, and to share in an iftar meal.
While togetherness during this time is cherished, the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged Ramadan traditions as stay-at-home orders have forced families around the world to be quarantined.
I spoke to my friend Adele Chee Kee to gain insight into what a quarantine Ramadan has been like for her and her family.
“Fasting is one part of Ramadan, but going to mosque to break fast together and praying in congregation is another major part for us. Although, I do understand the reason for these measures being put in place, we usually go through Ramadan as a tribe, as a people, and this time we don’t have that togetherness. We are unable to congregate with our extended families at the mosque, where we usually hug and kiss and share fasting experiences. ”
She also shared that the others feel disappointed in not being able to sponsor an iftar meal and receive the blessing of feeding fasting Muslims.
“Eid-ul-Fitr is one of the most important events that we are permitted to celebrate and we are unable to celebrate in the way we would want to. We won’t be able to perform the Eid prayer or to celebrate Eid together. We can’t visit each other’s homes for iftars or Eid. After a long month of fasting we look forward to adorning ourselves in our best attire and celebrating together.”
Though being quarantined has placed a spoke in Ramadan traditions, she also shared some positives:
“It forces Muslims to focus on family and share the experience of Ramadan together. Usually my husband and I are at work and we go through the day separately and then meet at the mosque. Being at home has allowed us to share our struggles, to pray together often, to break our fast and enjoy iftar dinners together as a family.”
As Ramadan is also a time of spiritual discipline and increased prayer and worship, a quarantine Ramadan has allowed her and her family to dedicate more of their time to these activities.
“I don’t have to hustle or go through a busy day’s work, where I don’t get to devote my time to acts of worship. I can continue to study my religion, teach my son more about his religion, teach him more prayers, which is a huge pro for me. I also like the fact that I can clean my home and prepare for Eid in a way I was unable to do before because I usually work throughout Ramadan.”
What has your quarantine Ramadan been like?
We at LOCAL 868 wish a happy and safe Eid-ul-Fitr to all our Muslim brothers and sisters in T&T.
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Jacqui holds a Bsc in Business Information Technology from the University of Greenwich and is the creative director and founder of LOCAL(868). She's obsessed with anything and everything to do with information systems, startups, entrepreneurship, and branding. She also enjoys cooking, music and other areas of the creative arts.