Eid al-Adha for Syrians: Nostalgic bitterness

Eid al-Adha for Syrians: Nostalgic bitterness

A displaced girl cleans her shoes in preparation for celebrating Eid
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Orient Net - Yasser Ashkar
Date: 2016-09-14 06:00
In the midst of deteriorating conditions due to the ongoing war, the children of Syria continue to adapt to life as they have come to know it. 

Those Syrians who are old enough to remember the rituals and celebrations of Eid al-Adha in the past realize that this year’s holiday conditions are worse than at any time before. 

The holidays are no longer family gatherings due to the scattering of many members all over the world in search of safety and a favorable chance of starting a new life, or simply to escape the compulsory military service imposed by the Assad regime on the Syrian youth.

Showing hospitality to family and friends, sharing meals and at the very least, sweet desserts have always been an important part of holiday traditions for Syrians. But lately serving tea or coffee  — when available  — are proving to be more than enough to welcome guests at an Eid feast in Syria.

No fruits, sweets or pastries that are traditional holiday favorites for all Syrians are being served since these items are hard to come by and available to only a few wealthy and privileged Syrians.
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A woman from Aleppo, who used to serve sweets to family and friends during the holidays, said to Orient Net: “Who will visit me and share with me eating Eid sweets anyways? Nobody. My only child has been in Germany since 2013. Life totally stopped for me in Aleppo.”

The custom of having new clothing, for men and women, from the eldest of elders to the youngest of children, was formerly viewed as one of the basic cultural rules of society for ushering in the Eid holidays.

Wearing new clothes, however, has become one of today’s luxuries — very high prices on the one hand, and on the other hand, the joy of wearing new clothes for Eid has fizzled and is no longer considered to be important.

In spite of the decline of cultural traditions associated with Eid, the religious background and meaning of the feast continues to inspire Syrians living in the increasingly more difficult conditions of the past five and a half years.

Bolbol in Aleppo told Orient Net; “Even though there is deprivation of material things for the Eid, still people will seek to maintain social holiday habits and rituals such as visiting relatives, and giving children a small sum of money (Eidiya) to bring joy to their hearts. "
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