Muslims traditionally mark Eid al-Adha – or Feast of Sacrifice – by offering special prayers and slaughtering livestock, usually a goat, sheep, a cow, or a camel, to commemorate Prophet Ibrahim’s test of faith.
The meat of the sacrificed animals is shared among family and friends and poor people who cannot afford to sacrifice animals.
For many Muslims, the holiday is incomplete without the tradition.
But the COVID-19 pandemic has devastated India’s economy and brought financial hardships to millions. Many now say they cannot afford to buy a sacrificial animal.
At this livestock market in Indian-controlled Kashmir’s Srinagar, trader Khursheed Ahmed is unsure he’ll be able to sell all the animals he bought for the festive season.
“There are no buyers, as inflation is too high. People ask for rates, but do not buy,” he says.
Businessman Ghulam Hassan Wani, who negotiates a price with one livestock seller, says he’s had to reduce the number of animals he purchases.
“I used to sacrifice three or four sheep, but this year, we can hardly afford one,” he says.
This year’s holiday falls on July 21-23 in the region.
Authorities have said there will be no traditional congregational prayers due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Most mosques, including the Grand Mosque in Srinagar, will remain shut.
Only a lonely call to prayer will blare through speakers, as most Muslims offer their prayers from home.
Celebrations are also expected to be muted, as health officials and scientists warn of another surge in new coronavirus infections.
Muslim scholars have appealed to communities to exercise restraint in observing festivities, calling for full adherence to health protocols.
Some Indian states have also imposed restrictions on large gatherings and urged people to offer Eid prayers at home.