As Ramadan draws to a close, families across Iraq are preparing to welcome Eid, and hoping to celebrate the holy month under better conditions next year.
Both Ramadan and Eid are different this time, due to lockdown measures put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19; we would like to remind everyone how important it is to take care of themselves and each other. While practising social distancing and following experts’ safety recommendations, there are plenty of things we can do to honour the spirit of Eid and enjoy it at home.
Prepare food together 👨👩👧👦 🍲🍛🥘
Eid is an excellent time to cherish your family. Our busy lives mean that eating together with family members is sometimes rare; Eid is an occasion to revive the practice of family gatherings, especially around a delicious dish.
Social distancing recommendations mean that the usual iftar gatherings haven’t been possible, but cooking with family still is. Cooking together can strengthen family bonds, and foster healthy eating habits. You can call your friends and family who are keen chefs, and keep each other company on the phone when preparing your Eid dishes while discussing techniques and tips. Even if we’re still physically apart, we can be together.
Home-made food also reduces your contact with other people, or with meals touched by other people outside of your household, both of which can help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Bake klaicha with family 🥟 🥧
After a month of fasting from dawn to dusk, it is time to celebrate good food during the day, including Eid sweets. Iraqis are known for their delicious klaicha, especially those stuffed with dates. Family members usually gather around the table to make and stuff the cardamom-flavored dough with nuts and other fillings.
Serve klaicha on specially decorated plates, eat in moderation and share your photos with us! 😊
Wish relatives and friends a happy Eid 👬👭🧑🤝🧑👫👭:
Eid means spending extra special time with family and friends. Staying home will not stop us from honouring this main tradition. Phone calls or video calls with parents, grandparents, friends and relatives are an easy alternative! Wish them a happy Eid and share warm memories of previous celebrations.
Clean and Decorate your home beforehand 🎉🍬
We all know that cleaning the home before Eid is a must; it’s important to follow good hygiene practices to safeguard against infection, especially during this pandemic. This year, involve the whole family, supervise children to safely take part in preparations, and spread Eid cheer throughout the home.
Dress up 👗 👚
It might not be possible to buy new Eid clothes this year, due to lack of funds and shops being closed. Staying home remains crucial. However, take some time to pick out your favourite festive pieces of clothing — prepare them the night before, to get excited to wear them the next day!
Play games and give out small gifts 🧠🤔 🎁🛍️
Brain teasers make for a fun family activity. Playing such games can help lower stress and anxiety especially during this challenging period. Gather around with a cup of tea and some Eid sweets, and enjoy. Small gifts or prizes are the best part for winners!
Help others 📿
Eid is a time for solidarity and generosity; this is especially important under these unprecedented conditions when many people are losing loved ones and livelihoods due to COVID-19. The UN in Iraq stands in solidarity with those who are experiencing difficulties under curfew. The stress of lockdown conditions may lead to increased cases of domestic violence and other challenges. Those who would like to inquire about humanitarian assistance or wish to file reports can call the Iraq Information Center at the toll-free number: 800 6 9999.
Charitable acts can be done in different ways. Checking in on the elderly, people with disabilities and vulnerable neighbours – by phone, or with offers to deliver essential groceries - can go a long way. Donations or in-kind contributions can also be made to those who lost their sources of income due to the pandemic. Acts of kindness are heartwarming for both those offering help and those receiving it.