As Eid-ul-Zuha approaches, animal markets across the Kashmir Valley were bustling with shoppers on Sunday who were looking to buy sacrificial animals to mark the festival on Wednesday.
Muslims all over the world offer animal sacrifices to commemorate the sacrifice made by Prophet Abrahim. It is for this reason that Eid-ul-Zuha is also known as Bakr Eid.
Makeshift animal shops have come up in all cities and towns although the Eidgah grounds in Srinagar continues to remain the biggest such market.
The sacrificial animals being sold at the Eidgah market were sheep, goats and also a few camels.
State government has fixed rates for these sacrificial animals, but the official order determining the price seems to be nobody’s priority.
A well fed sheep can cost anything between Rs 5,000 to Rs 12,000 as buyers and sellers engage in hectic haggling over the prices.
Once they have bought a sacrificial animal or two, Kashmiris are seen lined up outside bakeries.
Buying bakery items for the family around the Eid festival has almost become a ritual in the Valley.
Well known bakeries in Srinagar sell cakes, pastries and biscuits worth millions of rupees on Eid.
Other priority items on the Eid shopping list are new clothes and firecrackers for children.
In sharp contrast to Eid-ul-Fitr, very few locals are seen hanging around butcher shops on Eid-ul-Zuha.
This is because gifts of mutton of sacrificial animals reach homes of neighbours, relatives and friends in every locality of the Valley on Eid-ul-Zuha.
During the last 10 years, locals have engaged in organizing charity for supporting orphanages and even individual households who are in need of financial support.