This evening, 1.6 billion Muslims across the world will celebrate Eid al-Fitr. The festival marks the end of Ramadan – a holy month of fasting – and is traditionally observed with a feast, family gatherings, large prayer gatherings at the mosque, and a sense of goodwill.
But just as Ramadan has been extraordinary this year under the Covid-19 lockdown, Eid-al Fitr will also be celebrated under exceptional circumstances.
This year reminded me of my early years growing up in Britain when my family and I were the only family of colour on the street where we lived, and one of just three Muslim families in our neighbourhood. There was no mosque, and we travelled to London on the train to purchase our halal meat. My mum stitched our Eid clothes because there was no Muslim/Asian fashion industry at the time.
We celebrated Eid with a handful of people whom we knew. As a young person, it was lonely; there was no one of my age with whom to share Eid. Then there was the problem of our neighbours who did not know what Eid was, who stared at our clothes, and thought we were odd, especially after a month of hearing us get up just before dawn for a meal.
Patiently, we found ways to share our faith with them and we became friends.