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In much of the US, and the world, the coronavirus outbreak has caused lockdowns and mandated social isolation. Many places of worship are closed, and federal and local governments have recommended against visiting older, more vulnerable friends or relatives, as well as most travel, between states, cities, or even houses.
Over the past month, as worst of the outbreak swept the US, three of the world’s major religions — Christianity, Judaism, and Islam — have had major holidays. Around the world, people held Passover seders over video calls with their friends and family, substituting the symbolic seder plate foods they couldn’t get from their local grocery stores with similar food items or paper replicas. Many Christians had Easter egg hunts in their apartments or front yards and attended services online, though others went to in-person church services against the recommendations or even laws of their state governments.
Thursday is the beginning of Ramadan, the month of daytime fasting leading up to the major Muslim holiday Eid al-Fitr. The holiday is about understanding the pain of those who cannot access food or water, and under normal circumstances, Muslim adults who are not ill, pregnant, or have other significant mitigating circumstances go without food or water from sunrise to sunset every day for the full month. They have large traditional evening meals, or iftars (literally break-fast), with friends and family each night. It often involves going from house to house for delicious meals and sweets, and gathering at the mosque for prayer and celebration.
This year, as people socially isolate and avoid gathering in groups outside their immediate family, and as grocery stores struggle with stock limitations and supply issues, Ramadan will be very different all over the world for everyone, but especially for essential workers. Doctors, nurses, and transportation, grocery store, and delivery workers are working long hours during the pandemic, helping to save lives and keep society functioning. Many have less control over their schedules than they ever had before and are more exposed to potential cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Not eating or drinking all day can make you feel weak and have less energy, potentially lowering your immune defenses and making you more susceptible to illnesses and viruses.
Whether you are an essential worker or not, we want to know how you plan on celebrating Ramadan and Eid during this pandemic. Do you plan on seeing people in person? Are you not going to fast this year because of your job? Any and all answers are welcome, and we will keep you anonymous if you prefer.
If you’d like to tell us about your plans/how Ramadan has been going for you so far, fill out this form. We look forward to hearing from you!
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