This year in Maryland, Muslim families who celebrate Eid al-Adha are being encouraged to adjust their plans to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Eid al-Adha, which is one of two major holidays within the Islamic faith, is normally celebrated with services at mosques and with gatherings of friends and family.
The holiday will be celebrated by many on Friday, and that has prompted the Maryland Office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) to issue what it is calling a #CovEID community advisory.
“We just want everybody to be able to still find joy in the holiday and celebrate, but do it in a safe way that doesn’t put them or their loved one or their communities at risk,” said Zainab Chaudry, the executive director for the Maryland CAIR office.
The advisory urges the more than 100,000 Muslims who live in Maryland to take into account the data released by Gov. Larry Hogan this week on what is leading to the spread of the virus. The list included family gatherings as a high-risk event.
People are also urged to follow Hogan’s announcement that masks should be worn by children older than 5 when inside businesses, in public and when at outdoor settings where social distancing isn’t possible.
The mask order goes into effect at 5 p.m. Friday.
Travel is also strongly discouraged to high-risk states where positivity rates are at 10% or above.
In response to the situation, Chaudry said some mosques have canceled events, leaving families to develop alternative plans.
Gatherings at parks in which those who attend can be physically distanced from one another is one way some are planning to celebrate the holiday.
Another idea Chaudry has heard includes families exchanging food in a contactless fashion to each other’s homes and all connecting in a virtual format for prayers.
“People are being creative. It’s definitely not the same, but I think people are finding ways to adapt,” Chaudry said.
Yasmeen Elkoshairi who serves as an intern at CAIR’s Maryland office, said her family is modifying their tradition to meet the COVID-19 guidelines and will celebrate at home with her father leading the family in prayer. Also, instead of giving gifts in person, those gifts will be dropped off at home.
For Eid al-Adha, families customarily dress in their finest clothes, and Elkoshairi said her family will do that as they celebrate together.
“Just because we’re not going out and seeing other people, does not mean it’s any less of a celebration,” Elkoshairi said.
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