The world’s Muslims will celebrate one of their greatest festivities under the long shadow of the coronavirus. Millions will be locked up in their houses and others will suffer financial anguish during a time of year usually dedicated to shopping and festivities.
The three days of Eid al-Fitr end the fasting month of Ramadan for the 1.8 billion Muslims in the world. People travel, visit family members and gather for big meals, but this year all of that will be largely banned by authorities trying to contain the spread of the virus.
The holiday will begin on Saturday or Sunday, according to the visualization of the new moon, and will end the Ramadan fast that is held every day from sunrise to sunset.
Turkey, Iraq, Jordan and other countries will impose a curfew throughout the holiday. In Saudi Arabia, where the holy cities of Mecca and Medina are located, people will only be able to leave their homes to buy food and medicine.
But even in countries that have reopened to some extent, the holiday will not be the same.
In Jerusalem, the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam, will remain closed until after the holiday. The shops of the Old City have suffered since March the absence of tourists and pilgrims.
In Egypt, authorities extended the nightly curfew, which will start at 5 p.m. instead of 9 p.m., and stopped public transport until May 29. Shopping centers, beaches and parks, which in normal times would be crowded, will be closed.
In Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country, President Joko Widodo said the restrictions will last until the end of the holiday. The Southeast Asian country, with 270 million inhabitants, has registered 18,000 cases with around 2,000 deaths.
Since the beginning of Ramadan, the government has banned “mudik”, a festival tradition in which millions of city dwellers go to their home towns to celebrate as a family. Experts warned that there could be new foci of infection.
Karmini reported from Jakarta, Indonesia. Associated Press journalists from around the world contributed to this report.