While conducting business meetings online may be routine amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has put much of normal life on hold, having digital meetings for celebrations as well as funeral prayers is also catching up, as many continue their family traditions, both joyful and sombre, thanks to technology.
More and more people are escaping to the virtual world as they realise that life must go on and that days of lockdown are too long to wait for such traditions.
“If everything can happen online, why not our traditional activities. We are blessed with technology and we can still gather for either joyful or sombre moments online,” Saif al Obaidani, who recently got married without a big ceremony, said.
Obaidani said he could not wait for the end of the pandemic, which is uncertain, and so decided to tie the knot at home with just his family. “The attendees included only the bride and her father who came home. The rest of my family members and her family members celebrated via Zoom. We will decide to hold a big party as and when the situation gets betters,” he said.
Since men and women are social animals, they also never miss any opportunity to mingle. “Whenever there is a happy occasion, I dress up in a bright dress and get ready to socialise with my family members via Zoom. I put on some light makeup, and we all get excited in front of our laptops, eager to meet. The recent occasion we celebrated was Eid al Fitr. We set the time and started talking and socialising over Zoom. It was really fun,” Asila al Naamani, a private sector employee, said.
Virtual social gatherings are not only limited to happy occasions but also sad one, like funerals. “I lost my mother on Sunday, just a few people came for the burial and we managed to arrange funeral prayers for her, a day after, though Zoom. All my family members and friends were invited to join Zoom and we conducted the special prayer for her. We did not want to lose this tradition of meeting and offering condolences to the breaved each other,” Taha Hameed, a private sector employee, said.
Funerals typically bring together family, friends, and the wider community, to mourn. “Since people aren’t allowed to gather in groups, the traditional funeral is not possible now. We also cannot gather to recite prayers or to pay condolences to each other or pray for the dead. So, we used Zoom, the online video and audio chat platform,” Khalfan al Khaldi, a retired government employee said.
According to the Supreme Committee on COVID-19, gatherings of any sort is not allowed and the committee has given the ROP orders to keep an eye on people, public, and private establishments that do not adhere to decisions.