Dushanbe, October 6, Interfax - The rite of the sacrifice during the Eid al-Adha festival, also known as Kurban Bayram, is not mandatory for the poor, who should better spend their money on children, Tajik President Emomali Rahmon said on Sunday.
"This rite should be performed by the well-off who have enough money for this," he said in televised greetings on the occasion of the Muslim holiday.
The Feast of the Sacrifice is marked in Tajikistan a day later this year than in most other Muslim states and Russian regions. Some of the independent mass media claimed that the decision to switch the celebrations from October 4 to 5 was because the Tajik president is celebrating his 62nd birthday on October 5.
"The rite of the sacrifice is for those who have fulfilled their duties before the family and relatives, who have more rights to it: children's right to education, upbringing and clothing, as well as sisters', brothers', parents' and neighbors' rights," the Tajik president said.
Islamization has been picking up pace in Tajikistan and local residents are broadly celebrating the end of the Month of Ramadan and the Kurban festival. Sometimes people borrow money to put up a feast "no worse than the neighbors'" and then have to repay the debt for months, denying basic foods to themselves.
A law has been passed in Tajikistan banning exuberant weddings, funerals and birthday celebrations, and limiting the number of guests and the richness of the menu in order to persuade citizens to cut down their spending on festive occasions.
"We want to improve citizens' well being and we have passed a law regulating national traditions, festivals and rites, and devised the best way to organize festivities and other such events. However, some still yield fanatically to prejudices, knowingly complicating their own lives," Rahmon said.
People often complain that prices for food soar before religious holidays and drop to normal later. The Tajik government applies sanctions to deal with this problem as it provokes shortages and causes the black market to flourish.
"On this day we must respect and defend each other's rights more zealously than ever. For the sake of our relatives we must do good, stop wasting money and never engage in self-praise," the Tajik president said.
Monday, October 6, will be a day off in Tajikistan, given that Eid al-Adha falls on Sunday.