Feature: Indonesians celebrate Eid al-Adha amid COVID-19 restrictions

2021-07-20 06:35:51 GMT2021-07-20 14:35:51(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

by Benedictus Robert Yota

JAKARTA, July 20 (Xinhua) -- Muslims have to settle with praying from home during this year's Eid al-Adha in Indonesia.

As public activity restrictions, locally known as PPKM Darurat, are being imposed in Java, Bali and 15 regions until July 20 with the possibility of being extended, many people plan to celebrate the Festival of Sacrifice indoors to minimize the risk of getting infected.

Afidya Syifa, a freelance translator based in the city of Depok in West Java province, used to go to her grandparents' home to pay respect during Eid al-Adha. However, her family decided to stay at home this year.

Similarly, Atikah Hana, who works with an energy corporation in Jakarta, said that her family used to drive to her relatives' houses during Eid al-Adha. However, to keep everyone safe, they have decided to celebrate separately this year.

The government has prohibited public celebrations of Eid al-Adha, which falls on Tuesday, in areas where the restrictions are in effect, as a means of preventing wider transmission of COVID-19.

During a press conference last Friday, Religious Affairs Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas asked people to pray at home during Eid al-Adha to prevent the virus from spreading, as many are worried that another explosion of cases could get triggered from the religious celebrations.

This means that people are expected to refrain from participating in Eid al-Adha public festivities, such as mass prayers.

Anandika Rama and his family still plan on feasting on animal sacrifice meat in this year's Eid al-Adha. However, they have opted out from visiting the slaughterhouses.

"We only buy lamb meat from a preacher we know, and my family doesn't visit the slaughterhouse to see the process. We let the nearby mosque handle the slaughtering," Rama told Xinhua.

For Hana, she will be receiving her sacrifice meat from her office, citing pandemic fears.

The Institute for Demographic and Poverty Studies (IDEAS), a think tank in Indonesia, recently projected that the spending from this year's Eid al-Adha in the country will be around 18.23 trillion Rupiah (about 1.25 billion U.S. dollars), a lower estimate than last year's 20.5 trillion Rupiah.

Furthermore, IDEAS estimates that there will be 104,900 tons of sacrifice meat, consisting of 83,700 tons of cow meat and 21,200 tons of lamb meat, consumed during the celebrations.

The three families all plan to cook Opor ayam (chicken in coconut broth), accompanied with ketupat (rice cakes). Rama and Syifa also plan to cook rendang (beef slow-cooked in coconut milk and spices).

"So far, I think PPKM Darurat has been the best approach that the government's taken to pull the brakes on the spread of the virus, since the vaccination rate is still quite low. I just wish that the government could give out some kind of compensation for wages lost during this restriction period," said Syifa.

Indonesia recorded 34,257 newly-confirmed COVID-19 cases and 1,338 more deaths on Monday, according to the country's Health Ministry, bringing the total confirmed cases to 2,911,733 and total deaths to 74,920.

There has been a trend of decreasing new cases recently. However, the number of deaths on Monday reached a record-breaking high. Enditem