Ayeesha Ahmad got her Eid gift about two weeks earlier when her dad returned home from Pakistan despite the pandemic lockdown.
“I am very blissful that my dad came back from Pakistan as he got stuck there and there is no way as all the flights were cancelled due to COVID-19,” she said.
Her father, Mushtaq Ahmad, finished his 14 days quarantine just a day before Eid, which fell on May 23 and 24.
Eid Al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan but this year many of the celebrations were hampered by social distancing requirements to stall COVID-19. Traditionally, the holiday is celebrated in mosques. However, many mosques remain closed due to the pandemic.
“Eid is an important festival in our religion and we never celebrate this festival without family,” Ayeesha said. “I am happy as my dad finished his quarantine time the day before Eid,” but COVID-19 restrictions prevented the celebration from including relatives, at least in person.
The pandemic also forced people — like Mushtaq — to remain where they were as borders closed. He was in Pakistan when the Canadian border was closed and many international flights stopped.
“My flight was on March 24th and due to the lockdown, I got stuck in Pakistan,” Mushtaq said. He was allowed to return to Canada about two weeks ago in time for Eid, but there was one down side to the trip home.
“I was happy that I was back before Eid and also everyone feels happy when they come back home, but I could not give hugs and meet my family properly as I (returned) from Pakistan to Toronto,” he said.
Ayeesha said her extended family celebrated the break of the fast virtually by cooking and sharing meals online.
“I know it was hard to celebrate without relatives, as we have to follow the social distancing rules. But I hugged my dad on Eid and I felt very special because for a daughter, dad is everything,” she said.
Her cousin Miral Ali said it’s everyone’s duty to follow social distancing rule to limit of the spread of COVID-19.
“We used to celebrate this festival at my Uncle’s residence but this year we did not go there,” Ali said. “No doubt, his quarantine was finished but the gathering of more people can spread the virus.
“But we pray to Allah that on next Eid we will be together and we got rid of this virus,” she said.