Pandemic, economic crisis tarnish Eid al-Adha celebrations

Cairo, Jul 20 (EFE).- Muslims across the Middle East celebrated Eid al-Adha on Tuesday, the Feast of Sacrifice, with fewer coronavirus restrictions yet troubled by an economic crisis fuelled by the pandemic in the region.

Prayers, large gatherings, slaughtering livestock and giving meat to the needy, the faithful in countries including Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan will be able to celebrate the Islamic holiday without too many restrictions although authorities have urged caution during celebrations.

The tradition of distributing the meat from slaughtered livestock to family members and the needy has been discouraged by local authorities across the region to avoid contagion and in Egypt the government has banned the slaughter of animals in the streets.

In Turkey, even though less restrictive measures have been applied to this year’s celebrations, many have decided to spend the holidays in summer resorts.

In Sudan, many find themselves unable to afford a cow for the ritual animal sacrifice as the country experiences drastic economic inflation.

The price of a cow in Sudan has reached up to 50,000 Sudanese pounds (over $100) while last year it cost 8,000 to 13,000. The figure exceeds the salary of a state official.

The pressing economic crisis in Syria after a decade of conflict, with 60% of the population unable to afford one meal a day, makes celebrating Eid al-Adha with meat and food in abundance only a distant memory.

The sale of animals for slaughter in Syria has dropped by 80% this year due to the pandemic, a decrease that had not been seen even in the midst of a war, a local farmer told Efe.

In Iraq, the feast has been marked by bloodstain after a terrorist attack in a market in central Baghdad killed at least 30 people and injured 60.

The price of cattle has also increased, resulting in many families celebrating Eid with traditional sweets rather than meat. EFE

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