2021: Eid al-Fitr 

Yusra Iqbal, Staff Writer

When the word “Muslim” comes into mind, some people aren’t able to find the difference between just the followers of the religion, Islam, and the word “terrorist”, the negative stereotype perpetuated about us. Because of their ignorance, they picture us having guns in our possession or assume that we harm innocent lives but don’t picture the many families celebrating our holiday by exchanging gifts and spending time with our loved ones. To justify Islamophobia, their religious intolerance, and even racism, few bring up the terrorist attacks on 9/11 which had resulted in the exclusion of Muslims socially, politically, economically, and educationally to this very day.  

As a kid, I already had experienced what was probably just a small portion of what those individuals suffer from on a daily basis. There were many occasions; the time the love I had for bringing the food my mom made in elementary was shattered when a girl and her friends made hurtful comments about the way it looked and smelled or the time when the lady sitting in the front office didn’t excuse me for the day because “Eid isn’t an important holiday compared to Thanksgiving or Christmas.” 

Even with how disheartening it can be, it doesn’t define my whole identity as a Muslim. Besides the food and traditions like daily prayers, the many big celebrations: Eid-Al Fitr, Eid-Al Adha, and Hajj are very beautiful. Eid celebrations have been different all over the world, especially during COVID-19. I would say that this year wasn’t that different from the previous ones despite not being able to meet up with all our family members and celebrating.

Every year, my family has this tradition where we have sweets like kheer, which is basically rice pudding, after our prayers. Most of us are tired because of the fasting we did for a whole month before this day but that doesn’t stop us from getting ready in heavily embellished clothing with all kinds of jewelry. Just because we spent it at home doesn’t mean we can’t make the best out of it.

This year, I was finally able to see my cousins after a couple of months with safety precautions, but we really just caught up with one another and had some good food with everyone. One of the gifts we get as the younger relatives from the adults of the family is money which is considered to be “Eidi,” and we aren’t allowed to refuse it. Simply explained it is like an allowance but you don’t get it from doing chores, and it’s just a way of teaching us how to save money as well as using it for things we might desire. The whole atmosphere was filled with laughter and such even when there wasn’t a big gathering or anything extraordinary, so it really shows the importance of showing our gratitude for the little things.  

In the Middle East, such as Turkey, people had happily celebrated Eid amid the COVID-19 restrictions and the tragedies. They were gathered together as one and had prayed with masks as well as social distancing at the Grand Camlica Mosque in Istanbul. Individuals worldwide, in the Netherlands, Kosovo, and Nigeria had gathered in mosques. In Pakistan, children were even on swings celebrating with smiles on their faces. Through 2021, people were able to have celebrations of good times, food or sweets such as sheer khurma, which is just a small part of the traditions.