Connecting Regions of Asia.

Muslims Celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr in Bangladesh, India, South-East Asia

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Muslims in Bangladesh are celebrating their biggest religious festival Eid-ul-Fitr without any outdoor activities this year to prevent the transmission of COVID-19.

The government urged people to avoid Eidgah or other open places for congregations and offer prayers at mosques following recommended health advice.

In an emergency notification on May 14, the Ministry of Religious Affairs urged devotees to bring prayer mats and scalp caps from home and wear masks. Besides, arrangements should be made at the entrances of the mosques for washing hands.

Children, elderly persons, people with physical ailment, and those who are involved in taking care of the sick will not be allowed to attend the Eid prayers.

Devotees have been requested to shun handshaking and embracing each other after the prayers, a common practice throughout the Muslim world.

Thousands of people have already left the capital to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr with their families at their village homes ignoring the risk of novel coronavirus infection.

In an address to the nation on Sunday evening, prime minister Sheikh Hasina urged everyone to celebrate the occasion staying home and enjoying time with their families.

President Abdul Hamid and PM Hasina greeted the countrymen on the occasion. They issued separate messages praying for peace, progress and prosperity of the country and the Muslim Ummah.

President Hamid said Eid creates a bond of harmony, amity and unity among all. ‘Let the teaching of Eid-ul-fitr spread among all and build a prosperous Bangladesh,’ he said urging the solvent people to stand by the poor.

In a separate message, PM Hasina said this time we are celebrating Eid in an unusual way as coronavirus has paralysed the whole world.

‘Don’t get infected. We sincerely thank all the health workers, doctors, nurses, policemen, law enforcers, armed forces and others who are risking their lives to save the lives of the people during this time,’ she said.

Indonesia & Malaysia 

Millions of Muslims in Indonesia are marking a muted and gloomy holiday of Eid al-Fitr, the end of the fasting month of Ramadan _ a usually joyous three-day celebration that has been significantly toned down as coronavirus cases soar. It means no congregational prayers at mosques and open fields, no family reunions, no relatives bearing gifts for children. In deeply conservative Aceh, public Eid prayers can still be performed at mosques and fields, but without shaking hands and with limited sermons. Sunday’s Eid celebrations are also low-key in Muslim-majority Malaysia where mass gatherings are still banned and Muslims are not allowed to travel back to their villages.  

In Malaysia, Eid is known as Hari Raya Aidilfitri, which means celebration day of Eid-ul-Fitr. Malaysians travel back to their homes to seek their forgiveness and to pray with elders, parents, and in-laws. This homecoming tradition is known in Malaysia as Balik Kampung or ‘the homecoming’. In Malaysia, it’s important to wear traditional cultural clothes during the celebrations. People participate in prayers and open their houses to entertain family and friends. Gifts are distributed and there are special eid for kids celebrations as well as grand meals during the Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations in Malaysia. 

India

In India, the night before Eid is called Chaand Raat which means ‘Night of the Moon’. Muslims of India visit markets, shopping malls and bazaars with their families to buy new clothes, gifts and sweets. As part of the Eid al Fitr traditions, ladies apply henna on their hands and feet and purchase colourful bangles. Indian Muslims greet each other saying ‘Eid Mubarak’, followed by a formal embrace. Gifts and new clothes are distributed to the family members and relatives, and traditional sweets like Sivayyan, Lachcha and Kheer are prepared. But this year, the C-virus has dampened festivities as Muslims are particularly aware about not violating social distancing norms after being blamed for spreading the pandemic during a Markaz congregation in Delhi in February attended by hundreds of delegates from all over Asia.

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