Syria: Damascenes celebrate Eid al-Adha under harsh economic conditions

​Eid al-Adha celebrations were muted in Damascus on Friday as residents observed the important Islamic holiday while also dealing with a burgeoning economic crisis and the closure of mosques and many public spaces amid the coronavirus pandemic. Fewer children than usual were seen celebrating Eid on swings and slides in primitive playgrounds, and fewer residents than usual for the festive period, could be seen at butchers shops buying the sacrificial sheep, while streets at the heart of the city appeared nearly empty. Eid prayer services in Damascus and its countryside were held in homes instead of mosques, following an order issued by the Ministry of Endowments, as a precautionary measure amid the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. According to World Bank, Syria’s cumulative GDP has lost from 2011 to 2016 nearly €191 ($226) billion, while the recently US Caesar Act sanctions, which entered into force in June, are set to make the economic situation even worse. Eid al-Adha or the 'Festival of the Sacrifice,' is the second of two globally celebrated holidays in Islam, the other being Eid al-Fitr, with the former honouring Ibrahim or Abraham's will to sacrifice his son Ismael to God before Jibra'il, or Gabriel's intervention. Animals are often sacrificed on the holiday to remember Ibrahim's offering.

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