Economic hardships mar preparations for Eid al-Fitr in Yemen

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Yemenis in Houthi-controlled areas struggled this year as they prepared to celebrate Eid al-Fitr amidst continued economic hardship.
Sanaa resident Ali Mansoor went to what he calls a ‘reasonable’ tailor to have a new thobe custom-made for the celebration.

The holiday that marks the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan is celebrated by buying new clothes and spending time with family baking special treats. But Yemenis say their country’s economic situation is posing difficulties this year, marring the joyous occasion.

“The economic war has affected people and their reception of the Eid, definitely. The person who used to buy three robes for the Eid now buys only one, and the one who used to spend 60 000 (Riyals) on Eid sweets now spends only 25 000. Similarly, I am aware of the market situation, and I ask my neighbours and others,” Tailor Abdelazizi Al-Basha, said.

The Houthis, aligned with Iran, ousted a Saudi-backed government from Sanaa in late 2014, and have de facto control of north Yemen, saying they are rising up against a corrupt system and foreign aggression.

They have been fighting against a Saudi-led military alliance since 2015 in a conflict that has killed tens of thousands and left 80% of Yemen’s population dependent on humanitarian aid.

In addition to a decrease in the number of products purchased, many Yemenis are also spending less on the variety, but shopkeepers are trying to adjust prices to suit tighter pockets and shoppers are making do ‘so that children can experience the joy of the Eid,’ Sanaa resident Ammar Basaleem said.

Eid al Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, will fall on Wednesday (April 10) this year.