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Tuesday 20th March 2018

Eid in Iraq: A Gap between Rich and Poor


Haider Albadrey

Tue, 13 Aug 2019 13:04 GMT

In the early hours of Eid Al-Adha, prayers began in all mosques all over Iraq which celebrated the holy feast on two different days: on Sunday by Sunnis, on Monday by Shiites, something which triggered a lot of negative comment among social media bloggers.

In recent years, the celebration of Eid on different days by the two sects has become a common occurrence in Iraq. It no longer however sparks fights between the two Muslim sects.

Sunni Muslims, especially the elderly ones, mark the first day of festivities with early morning prayers, the main mosques usually attract the largest numbers of worshippers.

Right after the prayers, men head to popular restaurants to have their breakfast, which differs from one region to another. It may range from Gaymer, a thick white cream made from buffalo milk, which is the typical breakfast dish in all Iraqi cities to Bagilla Bil Dihin, a broth-soaked bread dish topped with oil-fried eggs, onions, and boiled beans. Makhmala is another traditional Iraqi breakfast dish eaten on the day of Eid. It is basically a large skillet of fried eggs, tomatoes, onions, and spices.

The price of dishes rises astronomically on that day. This year, the price of Gaymer has reached 15.000 dinars ($40) per kilogramme, although the price on any other day, never exceeds $15.

Abo Mohamed, a citizen in Babel province, angrily told 7Dnews that vendors keep raising prices every year.

"They have no mercy on the poor. Instead of helping people, they put more pressure on them," Abo Mohamed said referring to Omm Hussein, the most famous Gaymer seller in Hilla city, Babel.

Omm Hussein, on the other hand, refused to comment on the outraged buyer's accusation, maybe because "she fears others’ jealousy," as one of the bystanders put it.

After breakfast, people start family visits. Traditionally, newly-married couples gather at the family house where they celebrate the day with the husband’s family on the first day and the wife’s on the second day.

In many cases, families go out together to spend the Eid celebration in picnic areas and public parks. As for the poorer districts, old and primitive funfairs are still the destination of small children, despite their lack of the basic safety requirements.

In poor districts and slums, such mobile funfairs are erected only one day before Eid in wastelands amid rubbish, which creates another hazardous environment for the children.

Hamoudy, 17, who owns of one of the worn-out swings, tells 7Dnews that poor children cannot afford to go to amusement parks. "Our feast is different," says Hamoudy. "Here, with only one thousand dinars, a child can have 3 or 4 rides, while in theme parks; one has to pay at least 3,000 dinars for one ride."

Meanwhile, malls and electric-ride parks are crowded by the high-income families.

Tens of hundreds of people flocked to elegant malls in Babel province in the early hours of the four-day holiday. Children dressed in neat clothes filled the place with their innocent giggles, exactly like those of their poorer counterparts, except for the environment.

Hussein El-Bassry, the manager of one of the indoor amusement parks, says that the Eid holiday is the high season in which thousands of visitors are expected.

"We try to make all machines and games available to attract as many people as possible." El-Bassry told 7Dnews. "Yes, the rides are expensive, but they are new and up-to-date."

Middle East