Edmonton Eid al-Fitr celebrations modified age as a consequence of COVID-19 bodily distancing guidelines

Eid al-Fitr celebrations will look a little different this year in Edmonton due to COVID-19.

The restrictions on physical distancing and social gathering in the province mean that some Eid events have been canceled or postponed online.

But that doesn’t stop many in Edmonton’s Muslim community from getting creative for Sunday’s celebrations, said Yasin Cetin, Edmonton Section coordinator of the Muslim Association of Canada (MAC) and spokesman for the Rahma Mosque.

“We’re really trying to adapt to the new realities of spatial distancing and at the same time create a festive atmosphere,” he told CBC’s Radio Active on Wednesday.

As for the Eid celebrations that mark the end of Ramadan, up to 9,000 people would normally attend the Rahma Mosque, he said.

But for this year’s event, the Rahma Mosque is joining other MAC centers across the country to host “Canada’s Biggest Eid Celebration Ever” online to keep people safe during the pandemic, Cetin said.

He expects more than 80,000 attendees to see the event across the country.

Singers, spoken word poets, and more will be part of the event, which begins on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. MT.

The mosque also allows people aged 15 to 60 to come to the mosque for prayer on Sundays by holding shifts of up to 50 people at a time, in order to comply with the province’s rules for social gatherings and the rules of physical distancing to be observed.

“There will be a series of oath prayers every 45 minutes or every half hour so that people will come for these 50 people at the same time,” he said. “Pray and then go and then we disinfect and bring in 50 new people.”

Cetin said it was important to keep celebrating in the mosque.

“Ultimately, no matter what happens in the world, Eid is still a festival, should still bring joy to children and make people happy and bring communities together, even if it’s not a great time,” Cetin said.

Some community events will not take place this year due to COVID-19, like one that is usually organized by Rubab Rizwan.

The event, which takes place the night before Eid, allows people to see performances, buy things like jewelry and get henna tattoos, she said.

But due to physical distancing restrictions, Rizwan was unable to host the event that year.

“At this point I want to do something for the community, but it’s hard,” she told Radio Active.

Others have found ways to entertain people. Ensuring that children are entertained on this oath is something Humairah Irfan seeks.

Irfan has organized a treasure hunt in The Hamptons in southwest Edmonton. She asks everyone who wants to participate to register with her and set up tables with delicacies such as toys, biscuits, picture books and an Eid Mubarak sign in their driveways on Sunday so that children can go on a treasure hunt.

She’s also making a map so kids know where to collect goodies on this Eid.

“I didn’t want my kids to feel like we were doing nothing and just being home,” she said.

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