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Mali: Eid al-Fitr family celebrations despite COVID-19 pandemic!

Eid celebrations in Bamako.   -  
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Pots boiling, pans clattering.

Something is-a-cooking in the Malian capital Bamako as Ramadan -- the holy month of fasting for Muslims, has come to a close and believers the globe over are celebrating this special occasion with the customary feast!

Delicious smells and intoxicating aromas fill the air as hearts pulsate with joy.

Bamako resident Aboubacar Ouattara explains the true spirit of the spiritual holiday.

"It is an opportunity for us to ask forgiveness of others and to forgive them. And then as it is a feast, there is food and drink everywhere. People eat everywhere; you go to a friend's house and you eat there; it's a communion feast.”

Families and friends typically come together for the Eid-al-Fitr feast to break the month-long fast in a spiritual gathering. However, sanitary measures due to the highly contagious coronavirus see a smaller turnout.

Another resident Sqdiou Samake notices the stark difference in this year's festivities.

"With the coronavirus pandemic, people were a bit afraid to go out and meet up. In previous years, people used to meet up with everything, but this year it has discouraged us a bit."

Indeed, the COVID-19 pandemic had a negative impact on the Malian economy. As such, many locals saw their livelihoods affected.

Although many families find themselves with less disposable income, they are making the best of what they to maintain the sanctity of Eid. A moment which -- for many Muslims, is the happiest occasion of the year.

Aboubacar Ouattara believes that in spite of the different financial conditions, the true feeling of Eid is still very much present.

"We didn't get to do everything we wanted to do, but that doesn't take away from the morale and job satisfaction, and the party is still great despite that."

Customary prayers -- check!

Handwashing -- check!

It is time to eat with family and friends and the feast is served!

Rich nourishment after the month-long spiritual cleanse of the holy month of Ramadan.

Eid Mubarak to this Malian family and to all Muslims celebrating this moment of happiness worldwide!

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