Shomporko Desk:-It’s known as the festival of sacrifice, and Eid al-Adha typically brings Muslims in Calgary and around the globe together for various long periods of congregational prayers and community gatherings.
But a COVID-19 world means this year’s Eid will look altogether different.
While festivities normally start with a morning prayer, numerous Calgary Muslims won’t be praying shoulder-to-shoulder.
Omar El-Hajjar, chairman of the Akram Jomaa Islamic Centre, said the mosque will host multiple prayers across several locations to ensure physical distancing.
“The worshippers have been very respectful,” El-Hajjar said. “Everyone is bringing in their own rugs, everyone is bringing their own masks.”
Last year, tens of thousands of Calgary Muslims gathered together to mark the celebration, which is the second of two Islamic holidays celebrated annually. The holiday celebrates the loyalty and obedience of the prophet Ibrahim and marks the end of the Hajj, a pilgrimage to Mecca.
COVID-19 also means that other traditions will need to be adjusted. Some halal butcher shops, including Basha Foods, won’t be offering Qurbani this year.
Qurbani includes the ritual sacrifice of a livestock animal to eat with loved ones and feed others.
“The Qurbani, it should be with a lot of groups,” said Tamam Abdallah, a manager at Basha. “Right now, there is the social distance, [so] no we aren’t. This is so sad for us.”
Abdallah is encouraging people to give back in other ways, in the spirit of Eid.
In a statement, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said this year’s Eid was set to be a different kind of celebration.
“Normally, Eid al-Adha commemorates the end of the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca — something that was cancelled this year for public health reasons,” Kenney said.
“So, to any of those who were planning on making the Hajj this year, I hope that you will be blessed with the opportunity to do so in the future.”
Photo credit: LM OTERO / AP PHOTO
News source: CBC News