While things are looking up in the US this Eid, they worry about families braving Covid in India.
For Lynbrook, New York resident Nazia De Frank, who runs the Gourmet Ghee Company, a food business inspired by her roots in India, Eid this year is an emotionally fraught affair.
The family of four is looking forward to celebrating Eid, after remaining completely isolated last year due to Covid. But Nazia is also worried and constantly in touch with her family in Mumbai, India ensuring their well-being during one of the world’s worst Covid outbreaks in India.
“Last Eid, in New York we were at the peak of Covid. It was both scary and sad, this year after we are vaccinated, we are definitely more confident to meet family and friends in smaller groups,” she says.
“So, yes, it is a special Eid for us. Even though we won’t be able to go to the mosque for the prayer as our kids are only 4 and 7, many adults are joining the Eid prayers so it’s a reminder for us that things are back on the mend after last years’ complete isolation.”
“However, just as things were beginning to look better for us, the news coming out of India has been disturbing us,” Nazia adds.
READ: Of biryani and brotherhood: an Eid like no other (May 13, 2021)
“Also with horrifying images coming out of Al Aqsa mosque, in Palestine, the third holiest site in Islam, where worshippers were attacked by Israeli forces, we feel heartbroken.”
“My brother, sister and all my aunts and uncles as well as my 90 year-old-grandmother stay in India. We are constantly checking on them,” Nazia says.
“Also it feels a bit sad that they will be celebrating isolated. But hopefully things will clear up and the world would feel the festive spirit once again.”
Muslims across the United States are experiencing bittersweet emotions this Eid. For Dallas, Texas based Mehboob Khan and his family, Eid celebrations are a mix of happiness and anxiety.
“It is after a year that we will be stepping out to the mosque and pray along with our families and friends. We will be making special dua (prayers) for our brethren in India. We will also pray for Palestine,” he says.
The Abdul family in Chicago had a rough few days of Ramadan, as their family back home was struck with Covid.
“My brothers had a brush with Covid back home in Hyderabad and we also lost some extended family members in Delhi due to Covid. We are going to have a solemn celebration,” he says.
The overriding sentiment this year is one of hope and gratitude for most Muslim families. They are stepping out of isolation and meeting friends while being cautious, but there is a thought constantly hovering in their minds about the crisis playing out in India.
Many Muslims say that often their Eid preparations are interrupted with requests on community WhatsApp groups for help for oxygen or hospital bed leads in India or there are people asking for prayers for relatives fighting Covid in hospitals.
Across the US, with things beginning to look up, Muslims are looking forward to meeting their relatives. However, keeping in mind the crisis around the world as well as the fact that Covid is not over yet even in the Americas, most families are keeping the celebrations small and reflective.