Wayne State Muslim students adapted their Eid al-Adha celebrations this week due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Held from Tuesday to Thursday this year, the holiday marks the end of Hajj — an annual pilgrimage to Mecca.
WSU Muslim Students Association President Ranya Krayem said it’s important to spend time with family for Eid, which the pandemic made difficult.
“Last year we weren’t able to go to the mosque or visit our family,” she said. “We wanted to make the most of the day in another way.”
Junior biology major Sabrina Khan said her family worked hard to make the holiday as fun as possible.
“We still kept up the festive spirit by dressing up and putting up decorations, but we ultimately spent most of the day indoors or in the backyard,” she said.
Also known as the Feast of Sacrifice, many Muslims mark Eid by sacrificing an animal in recognition of Prophet Abraham, according to USA Today. The meat is split between friends, family and those in need.
Krayem’s family regularly sends money to her grandfather in Lebanon for the sacrifice, she said.
Lebanese Student Association member Zoha Hasan said her mosque, Al Falah Institute in Farmington Hills, limited its in-person operations for the holiday.
“Eid prayers happen at homes, rather than the traditional method of attending mosque in-person for prayers,” she said.
While Hasan said her family prefers going to a mosque to pray in person, “it was convenient (to pray) at home… because all the mosques were not open due to COVID-19.”
U.S.-Canada border restrictions prevented Krayem from celebrating Eid with her relatives in Toronto, she said.
“We always start the day by calling family who live overseas to wish them an Eid Mubarak (blessed Eid) and then get dressed up to go to the mosque for Eid prayers,” Krayem said.
This year, her family decided to go on a kayaking trip in an effort to make the most of the holiday, she said.
Michigan ended most COVID-19 restrictions on June 22, the Detroit News reported. Krayem said this gave her an opportunity to celebrate with others again.
“We usually… go out for breakfast and have family friends over for dinner,” she said. “I’m really grateful we’ve been able to get together with friends (this year) unlike the past few Eids. It made me appreciate seeing them so much more this year.”
Khan said though there are challenges to celebrating because of the pandemic, she was able to spend more time with her immediate family.
“COVID restrictions last year didn’t allow my family to meet and spend time with as many people as we typically would on Eid but instead gave us the opportunity to celebrate within our own household,” she said.
As Muslims adapt to new ways of celebrating, the meaning of Eid has not been lost, Krayem said.
“This past year was a prime example of how important community is and how lucky we are to still have people around us after all the loss that has occurred,” she said.
Amelia Benavides-Colón is a contributing writer for The South End. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cover photo by Hannah Sexton. She can be reached at email@example.com.