Eid al-Fitr is the day Muslim people worldwide celebrate the end of the month-long fasting period of Ramadan. It’s a joyous occasion filled with festivities and, of course, lots of delicious food. Many usually see extended family they’ve lost touch with, greet neighbours and friends, or do charity work.
“It’s a day filled with family and food,” says Aneeqah Emeran, food blogger at From My Fingertips, who says this is also the Eid of giving. “You give, you spend time with your family, you feast on the delicious food after a month of fasting.”
Aneeqah says in their home they usually have a breakfast of baked bread with corned beef or tongue, or baked pie. “At lunchtime, the entire family gets together and we’ll have meals like biryani, prawn curry, roast leg of lamb or crayfish curry if it’s available; basically any food you wouldn’t have normally,” she says.
After lunch, everyone changes back into their Eid clothes (you need to be comfortable) and visits their extended family where there’s even more food. A table is set out for visitors with various sweets, puddings (like malva pudding and Peppermint Crisp tart) and savouries.
“It’s enjoyed mostly because you’re surrounded by your family and your loved ones – you’re laughing and you forget that you’re even eating,” says Aneeqah.
Eid during lockdown
But none of that is happening this year. Families are unable to have normal interactions, never mind celebrate together during lockdown in South Africa.
Aneeqah and her mom are on their own this year, but the house is still being decorated for Eid. After their three-course meal, they’ll dress up and have a video call with family in South Africa, Australia and Bosnia.
Young children also receive Eidis – money for having fasted all month. “As children, we would greet neighbours on Eid morning to wish them an Eid Mubarak and receive coins. We often urged our parents to visit as many relatives as possible, increasing our Eidi cash in,” says Rizqah Dollie from Cape Town. But this year, unless it’s by EFT, kids aren’t getting cash.
Ulpha Edries, blogger at Remarried Mom in the City, says you never just wear one outfit. “You need a morning and afternoon outfit. The morning is something subtle like a dress and the men a thobe, while the afternoon is where you go totally fancy and all out – no excuses.”
Ulpha says not seeing her brother and grandparents is heart-breaking and there won’t be new outfits for Eid, but she’ll still dress her kids up so that they feel special.
“We plan to keep the menu the same as we always did, just to ensure the day still has some celebratory momentum even during lockdown,” says Ulpha. What’s on the menu? Curry served with roti and sambals, sweet yellow rice, veggies and salads, among other things. Oh, and of course it’s all washed down with Appletiser.
Here’s hoping that by next Ramadan, families will be able to celebrate together again.