Tabaski.. Financial Strain Amidst Festive Celebrations

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West Africans call it Tabaski but the entire Muslim community regards it as Eid al-Adha, a day of happiness and mystical significance. In a similar vein, in Mali, Senegal, and Guinea 85% of the population is Muslim and while the celebrations are pompous they are costly too.

However, in Mali, where there are frequent power blackouts that have severely affected operations of many firms, the zeal associated with Tabaski is not as high-pitched. Aly Bocoum works in a human rights organization and he is very lucky as he has a steady income to support his family every month.

However, more so this year, the one that flowed through his play more than ever has been anticipation. They managed to pay for over twelve family members that cost half a year over five hundred euros immaculately splitting his money expenses. Tabaski, I used 350 to 400, 000 CFA francs [533 to 610 euros] on clothes for the family and children; in addition, I bought a ram six months ago, costing 50 000 CFA francs [76 euros], he noted, explaining how economic challenges made it necessary to plan in advance for Tabaski.

Aside from this, therefore, the true meaning of Tabaski may be said to be found in its spiritual connotations. This is something that has been imparted to Sofia Cissé in Dakar and it is actually innate for her to do so for the less fortunate ones. For instance, if we have saved throughout the year, then part of the amount should be channeled towards a worthy cause, she asserted. “And even when at Tabaski we Samburust slaughter the sheep, it is not for our own consumption only, we have to take to our impoverished neighbors portions of the meat as well.”

Despite tough economic conditions, we are able to capture the Tabaski spirit of giving and togetherness in West Africa. And yet, despite the economic challenges faced by families, the true spirit of the feast is inspiring, giving confidence in the triumph of the human spirit.


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