by Mohamed al-Azaki, Abdulrahman Yahya
SANAA, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) — In a market in downtown the capital Sanaa, the residents were pouring in to buy meat, nuts, candies, coffee and new clothes in preparation for Eid al-Adha festival. Yemen’s people have long been known for their sumptuous hospitality.
Despite the ongoing five-year devastating war that has taken a heavy toll on Yemen, the Yemeni tribes still proudly practice their ancestors’ old traditional rituals of Eid celebrations, which date back to over 1,000 years ago.
Ali Marouni, a local resident, was shopping for the festival, but he complains about skyrocketing prices.
“It’s difficult to afford sacrificed animals due to high prices … also the meat is very expensive,” Marouni said, blaming the war for the economic crisis.
According to Islam teaching, rich Muslim family should buy a sheep, goat, or cow to sacrifice it in the early morning of Eid day, and distribute its meat to the poor as a charity gift.
Livestock seller Mohamed Awami said many residents have lost their jobs due to the war and economic blockade, which make many not able to buy livestock for sacrifice. “Sales went down this year than the previous ones,” he laments.
The war erupted in late 2014, pitting forces of the Saudi-backed government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi against Iran-allied Shiite Houthi rebels. The rebels seized much of the country’s north, including the capital Sanaa, after they forced Hadi and his government into exile.
The war has killed tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, displaced over 3 million, and pushed the country to the brink of famine.
The war has destroyed houses, schools, markets, roads and the economy, but it failed to down the spirits of the Yemenis, who feel pride and dignity when they talk about their struggle and sufferings.
The people exchange greetings on the approach of Eid al-Adha. Fathers buy new clothes for their children as well as nuts, biscuits and sweets for guests, while mothers prepare reception rooms in their houses to receive relatives.
In the first day of Eid holiday, people gather in long rows in the public parks and mosques in the early morning to perform the Eid prayers. Then they return to homes for breakfast before visiting relatives’ houses and offering Eid greetings.
In the evening, families go to public theme parks with their children for fun.