Turkey marks Eid under nationwide lockdown
Turkey celebrated the first day of Eid al-Fitr, a three-day Muslim festival celebrated after the fasting month of Ramadan, under the shadow of strict measures to stem the spread of COVID-19 disease for the second year in a row.
As authorities permitted to hold communal Eid prayers in mosques, worshippers headed to mosques to perform their prayers while wearing protective face masks and practicing social distancing rules.
Imams also called on the attendees to refrain from carrying out traditional family visits amid the pandemic.
For the first time in 87 years, Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia held Eid al-Fitr prayer led by the head of the Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet), Ali Erbaş.
Hundreds of worshippers gathered in the square in front of the Hagia Sophia. But in line with the coronavirus restrictions, only a limited number were allowed inside the historic site, which was converted from a museum to a mosque last year.
In line with the special permission given by the authorities on the condition that it is only for the first day of the holiday, families of the fallen soldiers across Turkey visited the graves of their loved ones.
Some families recited prayers from the Quran next to the graves and left flowers on the tombstones.
As part of the Turkish tradition, children go door-to-door in their neighborhoods to get candies and presents from their elders on the auspicious occasion of Eid, bringing joy and big smiles to their faces. But this year, children had to stay home on the day they wait for all year round due to the restrictions, unable to collect their treats.
However, a 45-year-old local man living in the eastern province of Van found a way to make children happy.
Bülent Keser, a father of three, hung candies on the trees in his apartment’s garden for the children in the neighborhood.
Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on May 13 marked Eid al-Fitr with a message.
“I congratulate you and your family on this holiday, my sincere wishes. I pray that Allah brings us the next holiday filled with health, welfare and peace,” Erdoğan said on Telegram.
Vice President Fuat Oktay congratulated Muslims on Eid in a tweet.
“I sincerely congratulate our nation and the whole Islamic world, especially our Palestinian brothers and sisters, on Eid al-Fitr. I pray Allah that these blessed days bring goodness to our country, our nation and all of humanity,” Oktay said.