Raise your spirit; Eid is a special time [Archives:2002/09/Culture]

February 25 2002

By: Saleh Abdulbaki
YT Staff
The Yemeni people, along with the entire Islamic world, celebrated the Greater Bairam which signifies an authentic orientation toward God’s forgiveness.
Now it is commonly observed that the low income and deteriorating economic and living conditions of quite a good portion of the people in the capital and main cities have posed some problems on their migration back to villages. At the same time, there is a mark down in festivals in towns except for some dancing groups: Shops are closed and streets are empty except for some restaurants and shops whose owners are obliged to open by the authorities concerned.
Many people find Eid festivals a great opportunity to get their sons and daughters married as most of their family members get together and as it is a holy festival. It is customary for the majority of Yemenis to spend Eid in villages and countryside. During Eid people used to practice some desirable and undesirable conventions whether in the Lesser Bairam and Greater Bairam. This can be clearly seen throughout different customs performed in the Yemeni countryside in a time in which the economic conditions are very deteriorated and therefore, we see people forget these difficult conditions and desire to enjoy.
Economists take the view that poor families resort to girl-propagation, meaning families marries one daughter to the son of the other family, leading to endless family disputes. Such a phenomenon is prohibited in Islam as such marriages are not made with the consent of all the parities. Other families tend to borrow money from other families which also leads them to future problems with the creditors.
Marriage festivals widely varies from one place to another. However, most families exchange valuable gifts in the Lesser and Greater Bairam including perfumes, jewelry and clothes. Many families feel that they are no longer enjoying Eid due to hard economic conditions, a high rate of unemployment, low purchase ability and limited income. Therefore, the people find it a chance to go down on the government economic policies. Many people as well as experts raise their eyebrows at the increasing rate of poverty at a time there is a sharp increase in oil production in the country.
In conclusion, deplorable economic conditions in Yemen has added to the suffering of people even during Eid, which should be days of happiness and joy. Marriage festivals are the only touches that mark some kind of happiness, though are very expensive unbearable.