For this year, here are some things not to do during Eid—
There is no question that Eid is incomplete without seeing one's dearest friends and spending a few hours with them in one's favourite cafe. Considering that it remains crucial that we maintain safety protocols, perhaps this year's ritualistic hangouts can be excused. Rather, make the best of the situation by exchanging phone calls and spending some time chatting with them online.
Getting in touch with extended family members and letting them know they have not been forgotten is essential to tighten family bonds and in staying true to Eid traditions. Practicing social distancing does not call for cutting off or avoiding extended family members who live separately. Instead arranging group video calls would make this year's Eid feel as warm as any other year.
Enjoying dinner with friends and family in a restaurant is always a treat, one which is satisfied during Eid. However, why not try fine dining indoors this time? Instead of just getting takeout, spend a few hours cooking together to create a delicious meal and trying out new recipes.
Along with the traditional sweets, baking cakes, cookies and brownies with one's siblings will not only add to the menu but also promise a good time. Additionally, it will be a good learning experience for children and younger siblings as baking and cooking are both lengthy and messy processes, but at the end of the day, worthwhile, just like everything else in life.
Often times, children want to go outside and play alongside their cousins and friends instead of being crammed in one room during Eid. This year, their outdoor adventures pose as a risky endeavour not worth embarking upon. It might also appear that the little ones do not have their cousins to play with. That does not mean their Eid should be dull and monotonous. Instead, arranging fun games for them indoors would not only keep them engaged but would also be a great bonding experience.
One could start the day by decorating the house to get in the festive mood and have the children join in as well. Crafting, making origami stars and banners and other DIY decorations would definitely uplift their spirits.
Playing board games and video games, arranging treasure hunts, mystery solving games — these are some activities which would be fun for the entire family. After all the festivities, to top off the day, a family movie night with some more sweets to snack on would not sound so bad.
Memories worth cherishing are created when such celebrations are creatively planned rather than given up upon just because we cannot go outdoors. Many future opportunities to go to fancy coffee shops and long drives, parties and hangouts will come. However, the time calls for more safety and security and as such, why not make the best of the situation and indulge in the wholesomeness which can feel everlasting?
Generosity and charity are big parts of Eid. A big celebration or a small, there are always some Eid specific expenses starting from groceries to new clothes to Eidi to donating to the local charity.
Under stable and predictable times, going all out would only make sense. However, there is no telling what lies tomorrow and what emergencies might surface, one may never know where else a financial investment might be needed, especially now.
If celebrating an extravagant Eid puts one in debt or is a stress on finances, perhaps it would be best to reduce the Eid budget. It is necessary to remind oneself that money does not make Eid, safely celebrating the day with loved ones does.
Eidi is one irreplaceable aspect of Eid, especially for the youngsters. Some might want to use this as an excuse to visit relatives, but let's not forget, we live in the age of online banking and an electronic Eidi is just as valuable and meaningful as cash.