In the last 10 days of Ramadan, Bahraini families are busy preparing for two events that are occurring simultaneously this year: Eid al-Fitr and the beginning of the school season.
Some Bahrainis said this is forming an additional burden on their household income.
Miad Issa, whose daughter enters fourth grade this year, said she suffered during the past two years because Eid al-Fitr coincided with the beginning of school, putting a financial strain on the family.
Issa said she sets priorities while shopping and cuts back on other items so she can cover the "long and never-ending shopping list" for Eid.
"As soon as Eid al-Fitr is over, we dive headfirst into the beginning of the school year and all its requirements like notebooks, school uniforms and stationary," Issa said. "It's an unbearable situation."
Issa said an abundance of sales and offers in stores eases some of the pressure, allowing her to buy clothes, shoes and household needs for herself and her daughter at suitable prices.
The spending habits of Bahraini families increase during the second half of Ramadan in preparation for Eid al-Fitr, which includes buying new clothes, sweets, nuts and presents for family and friends as well as school uniforms, stationary and school bags for students.
Eid al-Fitr in most Arab and Islamic countries will fall on Sunday (August 19th) while the upcoming 2012-2013 academic year for primary, middle and secondary school students in Bahrain begins in early September.
Alawi Rasul, a sales representative at a clothing store in Bahrain's City Centre mall, said shops in the mall are fully prepared to receive shoppers of all ages.
Rasul said the last 10 days of Ramadan present a "golden opportunity" for merchants and shop owners -- especially those who own clothing, shoe and accessory stores -- who wait impatiently to make up for losses incurred throughout the year.
"All shops, regardless of what they sell, insist on slashing prices by 20% to 50% to attract more customers, and I think such offers help to partially lift the financial burden off of families," he said.
Abdul Jalil Ibrahim, who owns a nut roasting shop, said sales increase 70% for nuts, traditional Bahraini sweets and tahini dessert, as well as Arabic coffee, biscuits and Middle Eastern sweets.
This year, Eid al-Fitr coinciding with the start of school might have a negative impact on people's purchasing power, "but shops are still welcoming increasing numbers of people as Eid approaches," he said.
Ibrahim said the price of sweets and nuts has been stable throughout the year, making it easier for Bahraini families to "buy to their heart's content without looking at the price tag".
He said the holiday season indeed boosts sales, especially for shops that sell sweets and nuts, because families make sure to stock up for when guests visit during the three days of Eid.