Jakarta. Sacrificial animal traders are seeing a drop in sales ahead of the pandemic-ridden Eid al-Adha on Friday. On Eid al-Adha, Muslims slaughter livestocks as an offering to God and a way to give back to the poor.
Animal traders have always anticipated the annual celebration. In pre-pandemic times, people would rush to the nearby trading points to purchase sacrificial animals. Farmers can finally sell off their livestock, which they have cared for years, at a high price.
Unfortunately, the Covid-19 outbreak gets in the way of their plan.
The crisis-hit economy has hindered people from purchasing the sacrificial animals this year. Less schools and offices are sacrificing this year.
Sacrificial traders at East Tebet, South Jakarta, are also troubled by the pandemic.
On Wednesday or two days before Eid, many of their sacrificial animals - be it lambs, goats and cows - were still left in their cages. Goats were priced at only Rp 2 million ($136.64) to Rp 5 million. Cows were sold at around Rp 20 million to Rp 32 million depending on their size and weight.
Despite the gloomy sales, the trading point has always been a lively spot.
Since last week, visitors have frequented the field to enjoy the dusk. Not only buyers, local residents take part in enlivening the atmosphere. Parents often bring their children to feed and teach about the sacrificial animals. Teenagers run around the field to play kites, a hobby that has been on the rise since the pandemic dawned.
The Religious Affairs Ministry has earlier issued a circular which details the guideline on Eid al-Adha practice during the pandemic.
The circular stated that people are allowed to perform the Eid prayer in congregation and animal sacrifice anywhere as long as they have received the regional government's approval. Places considered unsafe from the virus by the regional government or the Covid-19 task force are off the list.
Minister Fachrul Razi said the ritual killing of animal at highly affected regions must comply with the health protocols. This includes maintaining a safe physical distance and practicing hygiene for the people involved and tools used to butcher the meat.
He also reminded that the festival provides an opportunity to promote solidarity among people suffering from the devastating economic impact of the pandemic.
"The meat can be consumed by those who sacrificed or given to relatives and neighbors. In this situation, it is highly recommended that the meat is donated to the poor as much as possible," Fachrul said on Thursday.
"Shorten the Eid prayers and sermon without reducing the intercession and pillars," he added.