Eid is an occasion of boundless joy and happiness. It is also one of saddest moments for those loving mothers and fathers who were forced to celebrate Eid without their sons and daughters around them amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The Eid-ul-Fitr, the biggest religious festival for Muslims in Bangladesh and beyond, turned out to be a different Eid amid the pandemic this year.

For Sajeda Begum, it is the loneliest Eid-ul-Fitr without her children and their families.

One of her sons, a physician at a public hospital, is engaged in treating coronavirus patients while his wife is also spending busy time at Chittagong Medical College Hospital.

"They used to come to my place early morning on the Eid day. They couldn't come because of what they're doing now. I don't want them to visit me as they're doing something for greater good," Sajeda, who is well aware of coronavirus situation in the country, told Dhaka Courier.

She said two of her sons got stuck in Dhaka amid current restrictions and could not join her in Chattogram.

"My youngest son, a bank official, worked during the government-announced general holiday. He and his family members couldn't travel back to Chattogram like previous Eids," Sajeda, a mother of five sons and four daughters, said.

Her daughters are married but she at least got her five sons together during Eid with a host of grandchildren. There is a deviation this time.

Many parents like Sajeda Begum spent Eid without their family members around with COVID-19 casting a shadow on the joyous occasion.

Sohel Hossain, a young journalist working in Dhaka, spent Eid away from his parents for the first time.

"I didn't take any risk. I might be a silent carrier of coronavirus, who knows? That's why I didn't go home. Secondly, I don't have my own car," said Hossain adding that it is painful to spend Eid without family.

Afsana Rahman Shorna was supposed to be in Barishal with her father, mother and youngest sister Fiha.

"To me, Eid means going home despite all the troubles on the way. During my childhood, I remember celebrating Eid in Dhaka once as my mother came here for her health check up," she told Dhaka Courier.

Shorna said her husband is now abroad for higher studies and she celebrated Eid in Dhaka.

"Despite all the sadness around, we're all well. That's the mental satisfaction. I pray for everyone today. My prayers are for them who got infected with coronavirus," she said sharing her experience of a completely different Eid.

A silent Eid

The death toll now stands at 709 and the death rate at 1.35 percent (as of June 2), according to Prof Dr Nasima Sultana, additional director general (administration) of DGHS. The total number of infected people in Bangladesh reached 52,445.

It was also a different Eid for those who lost their near and dear ones due to coronavirus and other health related complexities.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina stressed on following health guidelines amid the COVID-19 outbreak to stay safe ahead of Eid.

"Your safety is in your hands. Remember that if you remain safe, you are also keeping your family, neighbours and the country safe," she said ahead of Eid celebration.

For Sajeda, who turns 78, this is the only Eid without any guest at her residence.

"My sons and grandchildren took my blessings immediately after Eid congregation," she said, adding that the absence of her family members was saddening.

Many from the young generation connected with family members through video calls, giving a feeling of virtual reunion demonstrating that physical distance sometimes does not matter.

Sajeda said she wishes to see everyone safe in this difficult time, hoping that the bad days will pass.

"I pray that such Eid never comes again," she said.

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