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Muslims Prepare To Celebrate Eid Holiday Virtually


Muslims will celebrate Eid tonight - the festival that marks the end of Ramadan, the month-long holiday where they fast during the day. North Philadelphia's Muhsin Bigelow said there are a lot of different feelings around this Eid.

MUHSIN BIGELOW: It's just really weird because you can't give handshakes - or people are nervous about giving handshakes and hugs, exchanging those type of pleasantries. Even down to if somebody gives your child a gift for Eid, do I need to make sure that his hands or their hands are sanitized? And, you know, you have to clean this and clean that when you get in the car, when you get out of the car.

SIMON: But families and friends are finding ways to keep the festive spirit alive. Penn State professor Shaheen Pasha said she was supposed to celebrate with extended family in New Jersey. Instead, her husband and three children are staying put but getting a little help from their friends.

SHAHEEN PASHA: My daughter and I decided to order Pakistani sharwal kameezzes online and dress up. We're going to put makeup on. We're going to do a big barbecue in our backyard. And we're going to Zoom with my high school and college friends - none of whom are Muslim, none of whom fasted this month, but who share that joy that I was trying to create for my family.

SIMON: Professor Pasha said that once other friends heard of their plans, they wanted to be invited, too. And now people from Toronto, Dubai and London are all planning to log on.

PASHA: I think in some ways, it's actually opened up this whole new world where we can share these moments and these joyous holidays with friends and family that maybe we hadn't thought of doing before. And so for that, I think I'm going to take it as a Ramadan win. Eid this year, my house via Zoom.

SIMON: Saadia Faruqi, an author from Houston, says that she's taking advantage of an at-home celebration to try something new.

SAADIA FARUQI: I'm also planning on cooking, which I never do. And I know that so many women - Muslim women - do, like, traditional Eid food, which I've never done. But I think this time, I'm going to go out of my comfort zone and maybe make something very traditional that my mom used to make just to make it feel more special.

SIMON: She said that this year's Eid celebration will also be an important lesson for her preteen children.

FARUQI: Just be creative, even though it's a difficult situation because, basically, that's what I want to teach my kids - right? - that no matter what happens, we have to learn to roll with the punches and not be upset about stuff because that doesn't change anything. So I'm very hopeful that it's going to be the best one yet.

SIMON: To all those celebrating, Eid Mubarak.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.