Muslims ‘still need to be careful’ for Eid holiday celebrations

Muslims in England have congregated for Eid al-Adha celebrations after strict social distancing rules were lifted.

Families gathered across the country to mark the second of the two Eid festivals in the Islamic calendar, and were able to pray in close proximity following the relaxing of restrictions on Monday.

Some remained cautious, however, about being able to meet in large groups as Covid cases remain high in England.

Davinder Niggar, 70, attended a large Eid festival in Southall Park, west London, on Tuesday, which feautured funfair rides and music.

Festival of Sacrifice
Children on bumper cars during Eid al-Adha (Victoria Jones/PA)

The Southall local said: “I am really enjoying it.

“It is good that restrictions have lifted.

“However, we still need to be careful.”

Other Muslims celebrated the day with their nearest and dearest.

Munevver Odemis, 23, a trainee teacher from Dalston, east London, said: “Because my family are abroad and with the restrictions and Turkey being on the red list, I am celebrating with my brothers as they are here.

“I’ll also probably visit my sister who lives here in the afternoon.

“Quite a lot of people I know are reluctant to go to people’s houses because even though restrictions have lifted, cases are still increasing.

“One thing I am hesitant towards is in Eid we give sweets out, but we also give money to kids if we don’t have gifts and money goes from hand-to-hand.

“It is a bit scary.”

People during morning prayer during Eid al-Adh (Victoria Jones/PA)
People during morning prayer during Eid al-Adha (Victoria Jones/PA)

Anita Begum, 24, from Mile End, east London, is spending most of Eid at work, but remains cautious about how she celebrates.

The tutor said: “With restrictions lifting, I am quite nervous because not everyone is getting or willing to be vaccinated and large crowds gather for Eid festivities.

“Restrictions being lifted has not really affected how I celebrate.”

Eid al-Adha, or Festival of Sacrifice, is one of the most important festivals in the Muslim calendar and follows the end of the annual Hajj pilgrimage.

It celebrates the time when Ibrahim had a dream which he believed was a message from Allah asking him to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience.

As Ibrahim was about to kill his son, Allah is said to have given him a lamb to sacrifice instead.

Eid al-Adha comes after Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the Holy month of Ramadan and was celebrated in May when Covid restrictions were still in place.