Sudan’s Eid El Adha celebrations ‘devoid of joy’ this year

People waiting with empty vessels at a water well near Abu Shouk camp for the displaced in North Darfur end of May as the war has caused even more shortages and dire conditions (social media)


Throughout Sudan, Eid El Adha* festivities were marred by the pervasive impact of conflict, economic hardships, mass displacement, and a prevailing sense of sadness. Residents of Khartoum experienced an unconventional Eid as the city was surrounded by weapons and warplanes. The lack of liquidity and non-payment of salaries led to a reluctance among most people to make traditional Eid purchases.

Hajji Yousef, a local resident, reported ongoing artillery shelling and the sight of warplanes flying overhead during Eid prayers. He called the atmosphere “devoid of joy, with deserted roads and a sense of alienation”.

Activist Bashir El Sadig highlighted the exceptional circumstances faced by the Sudanese people this year, as many were forced to “seek refuge in neighbouring countries, leaving behind empty homes and a deep sense of loss”.

In the densely populated El Kalaklat neighbourhoods in southern Khartoum, the first day of Eid witnessed a mass exodus as residents sought refuge in other states. Journalist Ayman Sengerab spoke to Radio Dabanga about a cautious calm in the area, accompanied by “continued displacement and a six-day power outage”.

Praying under gunfire

In Nyala, the capital of South Darfur, thousands of worshippers performed Eid prayers amidst the sound of gunfire. Sheikh Ishag Bahar, who led the prayers in Nyala’s El Wehda Square, emphasised to Radio Dabanga the prevailing sadness and people’s reluctance to purchase sacrificial animals due to liquidity shortages, “with the prices of sheep ranging from SDG 30,000 to 500,000”.

Similar sentiments were echoed in El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur, where public squares were filled with worshippers, who heeded the imams’ calls for both sides of the conflict to halt the war.

The lack of liquidity prevented many families from purchasing sacrificial sheep, further dampening the festive spirit. Radio Dabanga correspondents in El Fasher reported a mass displacement of residents from eastern neighbourhoods, largely attributed to the actions of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) stationed near the city’s market.

In Singa, capital of Sennar, residents conducted Eid prayers from within the military command of Singa’s 17th Infantry Division.

Sad faces

In West Kordofan, locals described Eid El Adha as a sombre affair. Salah Mohamedi in Babanousa shared the prevailing sentiment of sadness, explaining that most families in the state were “unable to fulfil their Eid clothing and sheep needs” due to the liquidity crisis, and because “salaries were not paid for three months”.

In Wad Madani, El Gezira, displaced people residing in shelters experienced mixed emotions during the holiday. Radio Dabanga correspondents visiting one of the shelters witnessed children’s happiness, thanks to the arrangements made for them. However, adults displayed a range of emotions, “largely marked by sadness”.

*Also known as the ‘Feast of the Sacrifice’, Eid El Adha in the Muslim lunar calendar falls on the 10th day of Dhu El Hijjah. It honours the willingness of Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son Ismail (Ishmael) as an act of obedience to God’s command.(The Jewish and Christian religions believe that according to Genesis 22:2, Abraham took his son Isaac to sacrifice.) Before Ibrahim could sacrifice his son, however, Allah provided a lamb to sacrifice instead.

In commemoration of this intervention, animals are sacrificed ritually. One third of their meat is consumed by the family offering the sacrifice, while the rest is distributed to the poor and needy. Sweets and gifts are given, and extended family are typically visited and welcomed. (Source: Wikipedia)