A New Difficult Task Faced by Yemeni Families at End of Ramadan

National Yemen

By Tamjid Alkohali 

When are we going to buy Eid clothes? This question has been asked by all children since the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan.

Despite most Yemeni families facing the high prices of food commodities, they are also facing the high prices of Eid clothes or Kesswah as it’s called in the local dialect.

It is impossible that Eid comes without buying new clothes for children. From the beginning of Ramadan, especially the last ten days most of the families begin their journey to find what fits their children of clothes for Eid after Iftar, until the time of Suhoor.

With approach of Eid every Ramadan, shops are covered with different forms of clothes and are crowded with people, but the new thing is the marked increase in the prices of clothing under the difficult economic conditions.

Mohammed al-Badawi, a father of five children, emphasized that he sapped all his salary and borrowed money for Ramadan expenses, which is three times the expenses of the other months of the year.

Al-Badawi is now waiting eagerly for the salary of July in order to buy Eid clothes for his children though he has other basic responsibilities such as paying the water bill, the electricity bill, and rent, which takes almost half of his salary.

“From the beginning of Ramadan, my children asked me about Eid clothes and their concern increased with the end of Ramadan. However, I will not be able to buy the Eid clothes for them if I don’t get the salary of July, especially because Ramadan expenses forced me to borrow some money and I will not be able to borrow any more money,” Al-Badawi explained.

Unfortunately, Al-Badawi’s situation is similar to the situation of most Yemeni families. Eid clothes for children became one of the biggest concerns faced by parents in the last half of Ramadan due to the low level of per capita income on the one hand and the high prices of clothing on the other hand.

Compared with the level of per capita income, the prices of clothes are considered unreasonable for most families. The price of the cheapest suit for a boy is between 4000 YR to 7000 YR. these prices are in shops of the popular neighborhoods, while the prices of children clothes in the shops of the high-end neighborhoods aren’t less than 8000 YR.

The shop owners justify the high prices of clothes for many reasons. A shop owner named Hussein said that the high prices of clothes are a result of the high prices in the wholesale market, adding to the cost of shop management.

“I spend a lot of money to buy oil for the generator because of power cuts for long hours, also for the salaries of the workers who increased in Ramadan in order to meet the need of customers. All these lead to raised prices of goods to compensate the loss,” he said.

The prices of clothes increased this Ramadan 30% from the last year though the level of per capita income is still as it is and the annual bonuses were stopped.

Because of these difficult conditions experienced by most families with the importance of buying Eid clothes, parents are forced to buy clothes made in China or from the popular markets because they are cheaper than any other kind of clothes.

“Despite the Chinese clothes not lasting more than six months with my children, I buy them every year because they are the only suitable productions for my income,” said Al-Badawi.

In the last ten days of Ramadan, the prices rose significantly with the spread of inferior goods because the traders realize very well that people must buy clothes for the Eid whatever the quality.

This makes families who have good income buy Eid clothes before Ramadan or at the beginning of Ramadan.

 The task of Eid doesn’t limited to Eid clothes, but also buying Eid sweets and Asab Al- Eid (the money given to women as gift in the Eid) are also difficult tasks faced by most families.