Celebrating Eid al-Adha Amid a Pandemic

Ever since my mother passed, Eid has changed its meaning. Our mother was responsible for a lot of the excitement and cooking. So now that’s fallen on me, actually. I called up my dad and I think we decided on achar gosht and I have some mango ice cream that I’ve been making out of these mangoes that we imported from Pakistan. It will be a restrained menu. I think when you compare to both when my mother was alive and when there was no quarantine, the expectations have simplified.

This Eid, I’m asking, can I take the spirit of generosity here and try to use whatever I have for good? I’m trying to figure what local organizations and people I can support.

Kima Jones, the founder of a book publicity agency committed to literature by Black writers and writers of color, lives in Los Angeles and will be celebrating with her two brothers who have been in quarantine with her.

The Eids are two of my favorite holidays. My father was Muslim, and growing up, my mother was Southern Baptist; she’s since converted. It’s really just all about the food for me. We lived in New York and my father would drive to New Jersey and pick up Halal sausage, bean pies, in bulk, because there were eight of us children. My father, my brothers, my older male cousins, they always slaughtered lamb, sheep, and once or twice, cows.

My father owned a Halal farm during his lifetime. I grew up with him going out and sacrificing and cleaning the designated animal. We paid Zakat the way that we needed to, but really it was just three or four days of extremely good eating. I won’t be sacrificing an animal this year because of Covid-19. Whenever I can’t get meat, either I can’t do it myself or if a family member can’t, I try to order from Honest Chops, a Halal meat market in Manhattan. You can actually buy an animal and donate it to a family and they will do the ritual for you and get the meat cleaned, packaged and shipped out.

This year in the pandemic, I’m going to do our Eid prayers here at the house. We’re going to cook five or six courses, which I know sounds like a lot, but I come from a big family and so I’m used to very big portions. We’re going to have lamb, red snapper, something with shrimp, a vegetable, grill some corn, make a fruit salad.

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