For hard-hit Lebanese, Eid traditions are now just too costly

TRIPOLI, Lebanon: On the streets of Tripoli, Lebanon's second-biggest city and one of its poorest, there are no signs of festivities for Eid al-Adha this year, no decorations or twinkling lights. There's no electricity anyway.

Only a large billboard welcomes visitors at one of the city's entrances. "We're broke," it says.

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The Muslim holiday usually spells large family gatherings replete with mutton cuts, sweets and gifts.

But with Lebanon's economy imploding, leaving many hungry, and fuel shortages causing daily blackouts, there is little to celebrate. Soaring prices mean few can afford Eid traditions.

Many butchers' shops in Tripoli, once buzzing with customers, were closed this week.

Meat prices are just too high for most people, forcing them to forgo the Eid custom of slaughtering sheep or lambs to share among family and donate to the needy as alms.

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"What Eid? Look around you, does this look like a market at Eid to you? Where are the people?" said Um Tarek, a mother of five, at the central souk.

Her husband owns a sweet shop but now barely manages to put food on the table. They will be lucky if they can buy a watermelon for Eid. "We've only had it once this season," she said.

"It used to be that you had to elbow your way in through this market over Eid," said Ghazi Arnaout, whose family's shoe shop has been around for six decades. He plans to shut it down after the festival.

Hatem Abulashra, a livestock merchant, had few customers for this year's holiday. The price of a lamb has gone up more thaRead More – Source