Different Ramadan, Different Eid; A reflection by Zainab Janneh
Ramadan is the ninth month on the Islamic calendar. It is known as the month of fasting (sawm) which is also one of the pillars of Islam. We had to wake up at dawn for suhur and it last till sunset when we break our fast.
Ramadan is the month when the Quran was revealed. Laylat al-Qadr is the night when the Quran was first sent down from heaven and when the first verses of the Quran were revealed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) hence, the best night of the year for Muslims. So, during the last 10 days, my family did lots of prayers in search of that night, I read my Quran. The reason I fast is because fasting cleanses one’s soul. It also teaches people self-discipline, self-control, sacrifice and sympathy towards those who are less fortunate, all of these skills am learning to perfect in.
Since Ramadan is also about helping the less fortunate, I am so pleased I raised over £1000 for Kombah Sillah Association through the generosity of family and friends. It made me happy to know that I was helping people during this hard time. This year’s Ramadan has been different from any other. Normally my family will give out lots of food away and we will also receive lots in return. Because of the Corona virus, we have not been able to do any of that.
However, the school closure has enabled me to fast the whole month, as there was little or no temptation from school meals. I would not have been able to do a full month while going to school and evening madrassa.
The best bit about fasting is EID!!!!! It is soo fun. When the sighting of the moon has been confirmed on TV, we jump with joy because we have been waiting all year. The day before Eid, we always do our shopping, we help our mum deep clean the whole house and my mum will start preparing the food for the celebration.
In the morning of Eid, we will go to the hall to pray as a community. It is fun because we will meet so many family and friends. One thing I love about Eid is when we get money as gifts for fasting (saliboh) from uncles and aunties, but this year we didn’t get as much due to the pandemic. At the end of the day I always count mine to see if I have more than Tida, but most of the times she has more money than me. This year there was no counting as I already knew that we had the same amount of money, which in a sense I was pleased.
Our uncle, Martin will normally come the day before Eid, and we will be guaranteed the best BBQ from him. But this year, he didn’t, I guess he thought of my dad’s underlining illness and the restriction on social gatherings. Normally after the Eid prayer, we will go to my Auntie Fa’Janneh’s house where we meet a lot of family members like auntie Chacha and her family, (auntie Chacha makes the best spring roll and meat pie and we love it when she brings us Jumbo sausage).
My auntie Yamusu also comes (we love auntie Yamusu because she is funny and me and my cousin Jainaba always fight over her), Aunty Jainaba will also come with her family and so will few more families. Auntie Fa’Janneh is always kind to us, she will hire bouncy castles for us kids to play in. And uncle Amadou is a very funny man, he will make us laugh. The dads would be outside doing Attaya and also the BBQ by uncle Martin. They always talk really loud and we can hear them always bursting out laughing.
The mums would be in the kitchen finishing the cooking and serving everyone. We kids would play all kind of games but I especially love the bouncy castle. Sometimes it rains and we will all get soaked but we don’t care and keep on jumping. One time it was my cousin Aisha’s birthday and my mum made us kids put our money together to buy a cake for her (the cake was delicious).
Eid is always the most beautiful of times for me and I just love it, but this year it was different...
Because of Corona virus and the restrictions in place we couldn’t go out and that meant we couldn’t do anything like we used to. The day before Eid we would normally go shopping with my mum but we couldn’t do that this year. She bought some nice decorations to give our house a festive look and the table looked great but no one could come and enjoy it with us which was sad.
As we put on our nice clothes and came downstairs to pray, our new Imam (dad) was there dressed in his nice kaftan. This was great, as he has not enjoyed Eid with us for the past three years due to his illness. Soon after, we heard voices coming from outside and when I heard them, I instantly knew who they were. Auntie Fa’Janneh and her family and auntie Yamusu, came to greet us. Because of social distancing, they stood outside whilst we stood at the door. It was really sad because I hadn’t seen them in a long time and we couldn’t even give them a hug.
My mum put a cloth down on the floor I don’t know why, and my auntie put the bubbles, chocolates and money they brought us and we gave them money too. My mum took a video of all of it. They said their goodbyes’ and as soon as they left, I heard Aisha crying because she didn’t want go.
When all of that was finished, I helped my mum cook the food. Whilst my mum was still cooking, we decide to haves some more fun so we put some music on and started dancing. It was so fun. My mum cooked really nice jollof rice with fish (Benachen). We also did a BBQ outside on our own. How I can’t wait for this corona virus pandemic to come to an end so that we can have a normal Eid celebration like the ones we are used to.