Another Eid in the COVID era on Long Island, and yet, spirits were higher than the previous Eid, Eid-ul-Fitr in May. Mosques have slowly opened up, allowing a limited number of people to make the early morning Eid prayers on Eid-ul-Adha Friday, July 31st, 2020. A sense of community was reborn, with families gathering to make the prayers in the mosques or deciding to stay home to pray as a continued precautionary measure. While Eid in May was still during the quarantine and families spent Eid alone in their homes, this Eid was a bit more relaxed with some Long Island Muslims having parties, visiting extended family members and dining with friends. It was definitely a more joyous occasion than May’s Eid-ul-Fitr with people having the ability to go out and enjoy with loved ones.
Eid-ul-Adha commemorates the sacrifice of Abraham with Muslims all around the world sacrificing an animal to honor his ultimate dedication to God. Abraham obeyed the commandment of God to sacrifice his son and before he actually sacrificed him, God replaced his son with a ram which was slaughtered instead. Each Eid-ul-Adha, Muslims on Long Island and throughout the world sacrifice an animal either in their community or in other countries as an offering to God. The meat is distributed among family and friends and it is believed to be meat full of blessings from God.
There is no celebration on Eid without delicious food and Long Island Muslims know how to eat. With restrictions on restaurants opening up, Muslims enjoyed the opportunity to eat out at restaurants that offered outdoor dining as well as those open for indoor dining. Brunches with family, lunch at restaurants and dinners at home or out were filled with a variety of food and sweets. Restaurants offering halal food were in full swing as Muslim families ordered out or dined in to eat their favorite foods such as naan and kebab, biryani, samosas and lamb shish to name a few. The aroma from traditional desserts such as gulab jamun from Pakistan, kunafe from Egypt and mishti doi from Bangladesh filled homes as families enjoyed each other’s company and satisfied bellies.
Many Long Island mosques offered celebrations for the community that adhered to the rules of social distancing. Masjid Noor in Huntington offered a drive-thru ice cream, goody bags and bubble toys giveaway. Masjid Darul Quran in Bay shore held a competition for the best decorated car as families drove by to pick up burgers, hot dogs and chicken fresh off the grill as well as balloons and goody bags for the little ones. The Islamic Center of Long Island and Muslims of New York hosted a drive through distribution of toys for children. Many more mosques held similar events to celebrate the joyous holiday despite social distancing restrictions.
Overall, Eid-ul-Adha 2020 on Long Island was a joyous day and despite the current pandemic and the uncertainty of the upcoming school year, Long Island Muslims showed resilience by leaning into the joy and celebrating with community, family and friends.