There are multiple reasons observant Muslims fast during Ramadan. One reason Salma Abdi said she fasts is because deprivation heightens her appreciation for what she has.

“Not everybody has access to food all day, every day,” said Abdi, a sophomore at Century High School.

Because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, this year’s Ramadan came without communal prayers, communal dinners to break fast or a community feast to mark Eid al-Fitr on Saturday, a celebration marking the end of the holy month.

“It doesn’t even really feel like Ramadan,” Abdi said.

She’s not the only one who feels that way. Public celebrations of Eid al-Fitr have growing community events. About 1 in 13 residents in Rochester practice Islam. Hundreds gather for an annual potluck and celebration organized by the Rochester Muslim Community Circle.

“Everybody would wear their best clothes, bring a dish, and bring their kids,” said Bassem Fadlia, of RMCC. “We decided it would be best if each family observed at home.”

Muslims observing Ramadan fast from daybreak to nightfall. Most years, Muslim communities come together to break that fast and for extra night prayers during the month.

Abdi has been observing Ramadan at home with her family — her parents and five siblings. Her family plans a virtual Eid al-Fitr feast with extended family and friends.

She said she hopes next year she can observe the month with more people. She likened having to keep her a distance from other people during Ramadan to fasting. Being away from other people has made her appreciate having them around, she said.

“It will make us appreciate it all the more,” she said.

Fadlia said although the communal potluck has been canceled, RMCC volunteers plan to hand out bags of goodies for kids Sunday.