Jakarta, for Eid celebration, no travel, prayers at home (but there are exceptions)
by Mathias Hariyadi

To curb the spread of the pandemic, travel is prohibited, but there are millions who have escaped control to visit relatives. No religious parade at the end of the fast. Everyone is urged to pray at home. But in Tegal, Kudus, Ciamis, Sidrap will be prayed in public.


Jakarta (AsiaNews) - To avoid the risks of a spread of the pandemic from Covid-19, the political and religious authorities of Indonesia have been busy for days advising, urging, obliging faithful to observe the Eid al-Fitr festival staying at home, without travel or by going to massive prayer gatherings in the mosque.

Eid Festival ends Ramadan. In Indonesia it falls tomorrow, May 24th. The celebration begins tonight with the family gathering that dissolves the last fast. The family gathering lasts at least two days and is called Silahturahmi. The authorities demand that Silahturahmi be celebrated only among close family members and in social distancing this year.

Traditionally, in the country with the largest number of Muslims in the world, millions of people leave the cities days before Eid to return to their villages and gather in the family. It is a real exodus which in the local language is called mudik.

This year, due to the pandemic, mudik is prohibited and the communication routes are controlled by the police. Despite this, there are many people - perhaps millions - who have managed to escape the controls, traveling at night or by secondary routes.

Tradition also has it that on the eve of the evening, after dinner, by motorbike or car, a religious parade will take place on the streets, which lasts until midnight. But even this is prohibited this year.

A large prayer at the mosque would also be planned for the following day. But for days, even with video messages, Prof. KH Nazaruddin Umar, head of the Istiqlal Grand Mosque, explains that this year "it is better to pray at home".

“Even on a rainy day in Medina - he explains - the Prophet advised his followers not to carry out prayer in the mosque, but in their homes. Today we are faced with a 'torrential rain of coronavirus' and therefore his appeal rings out louder: we must pray at home. "

In some cities, local authorities have set more stringent rules. Public prayers are likely to be held in the Grand Mosque of Tegal and in Kudus (Central Java), Ciamis (West Java) and Sidrap (South Sulawesi). For the occasion, masks and social distancing are mandatory.

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