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Eid in Quarantine: A Story From First Year Student in Japan

It’s been a week past Ramadhan, the holiest month for Muslims around the world. It is a month for Muslims all around the world to fast, which a lot of people misunderstand to just mean that you can’t eat or drink, but in actuality, it’s a month of self-control as well as giving charity (zakat) to those who are unfortunate. The month of Ramadhan is ended with Eid Al-Fitr, which for a lot of people means going back to their family to apologize and catch up, as well as eating good food. However, with the pandemic going on, a lot of people are unable to do so, but that doesn’t mean Muslims around the world have stopped celebrating it. My name is Carin, I’m a first-year second-semester student at Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University and this is my story of celebrating Eid Al-Fitri during this pandemic situation.

Eid has always been one of the biggest moments for Muslims. It marks the end of the month of Ramadhan and is usually associated with returning back home to your hometown alongside other family members to catch up and have good food with good company. This is the first time I’ve spent Eid all by my lonesome, so it was quite a strange experience.

When I’m back home, by five in the morning, I would be woken up by my parents to do my Subuh prayers and then hustled into our newly bought clothes and walk to the mosque near our house to do Eid salah. We would have done our wudhu beforehand so my mother and I would walk to the women’s section and we would separate from my brother and father. After the prayers, we would listen to the khutbah and walk back home. Then, we would go to my grandparent’s house.

My family would always be the one to arrive first, and the food would already be laid out on the table. Then one by one, the other families would arrive and we would eat together before saying our apologies and then continue eating while catching up.

So it was safe to say that my first Eid being far away from home was quite a different experience. It was quite odd not having to walk to the mosque and then sit there to listen to the khutbah. Nor having to meet my relatives and apologizing face to face. In Beppu, Japan, due to the pandemic, mass gatherings were not encouraged so the local mosque did not organize an Eid salah. However, that doesn’t mean I spent Eid all alone! People had their own plans from Eid. Friends of mine wanted to arrange an Eid salat together, and some others went to Purunima to eat together. For many of us, Purunima really reminds us of food from back home, and also because it’s one of the only restaurants in Beppu where there’s actually spicy food. While another friend in my batch also had a small get-together in their house, which I decided to attend!

I came by quite late, so I wasn’t able to take part for the picture taking, but it was still absolutely fun. Instead of the usual loud chit-chats between my family members, it was just a group of friends hanging out and eating good food. The mood was certainly different of course, but not in a bad way. You could still feel the vibe of Eid, the mood of getting together, eating, chatting, and just hanging out with people. Even people who were not Muslim came by and spent their time with us. Eid is all about being together with people you care about and that feeling is truly special. It was honestly such a fun time and it made me miss home a little less.

After that, I also video-called my family back home. My mother actually set up an entire Zoom meeting so we could catch up with the other relatives in Indonesia. Back home, PSBB (Large Scale Social Distancing) is still being held. So there was no Eid Salat, and because most of my relatives were in the at-risk age range, the family get-together was changed through online video calls. All throughout the get-together with my friends, they were getting called left and right by their family and showed how they were spending their Eid. While also showing the good food they were eating, of course.

Hopefully, wherever you are reading this, you had an amazing time during Eid. We hope that if you were apart from your family, you didn’t feel lonely. Eid is a time for being thankful, and surrounding yourself with those who love you and are there to support you. To remind yourself of how lucky you are and to apologize for any wrongdoings you have made over the past year whether it is intentional or not. But don’t forget that just because Ramadhan is over, doesn’t mean that all the good deeds you’ve done in the course of the month should stop there. Instead, take what you’ve learned all throughout the holy month and carry it with you.

So with that, we at APU Indonesia wish everyone an Eid Mubarak! Minal Aidin Wal Faidzin, and apologies for any wrongs we have made. Don’t forget to stay safe until this pandemic is over!

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