No sooner had Egyptians recovered from the hustle and excitement of Eid al-Fitr, preparations began for Eid al-Adha, which falls on Sunday (November 6th) this year.
While Egyptians are preoccupied with their country's political events, such as the parliamentary elections scheduled for later this month, the spirit of Eid will always command attention because of enthusiasm among children and the weight of social traditions.
Aside from picnics and family visits, sheep are an integral component of Eid al-Adha during which sacrificial animals are slaughtered in large numbers, and small herds of sheep for sale can be seen roaming Cairo's side streets. The scene has become part of Eid tradition and continues until its third day.
In response to the high demand for livestock and meat, many traders exploit the occasion to raise their prices. While the official rate does not exceed 40 Egyptian pounds ($7) per kilogramme, it is often sold at double the price and up to 100 pounds ($17) in some supermarkets and meat shops.
Mahmoud Kafafi, a cattle dealer in one of Cairo's streets, told Al-Shorfa sheep are seen in neighbourhoods because there is a lack of assigned places for seasonal traders who rely primarily on the Eid season.
"Each dealer occupies a key location and dispatches some of his aides through the neighbourhoods to attract customers and increase sales," Kafafi said.
"Despite grumbling among the residents, everyone accepts the situation because the custom of offering sacrifices and distributing them to the needy is one that Egyptians will never abandon."
Hassan al-Shafi of the Chamber of Imports in the Central Administration for Veterinary Quarantine, said, "To meet demand, meat shipments started to reach Egyptian ports by land, sea and air in recent days. They are being subjected to strict rules to ensure they conform to Egyptian specifications."
Al-Shafi said 700 tons of refrigerated meat arrived from Ethiopia and Sudan, in addition to large quantities of live calves imported from Australia, Croatia, Hungary, Sudan, Ethiopia and Romania.
Gamal Abdel-Rahman, who owns a tourism company, said some Eid activities are the same each year, especially for middle class and low-income people. The activities include family visits, holiday lunch feasts, visits to zoos, parks, movie theatres, the Nile and river cruises.
Asked about resort areas outside Cairo, Abdel-Rahman said, "All tourism companies are trying to revive tourism by offering attractive prices and fantastic discounts. An agreement was reached with Egypt Air to operate additional flights to Luxor, Sharm el-Sheikh, and Ghardaqa to encourage Arab and domestic tourists to travel to those areas after people stayed away for a time because of the security situation."
Abdel-Rahman said there will be fewer raucous musical concerts that Cairo is known for during the holidays. The exceptions are the concerts that are scheduled outside Cairo by artists such as Amr Diab, Abdel Fattah al-Garini, and Hijazi Mitkal in Ain al-Sukhna, and a concert by Mustafa Qamar in Alexandria.
Cairo's local government is taking a number of measures to prepare for Eid. The city created an operations room to respond to complaints from citizens during the holiday.
Ola Abdel-Sater, citizen complaint co-ordinator for the Cairo Province Operation Room, said the office will respond to complaints 24 hours a day and will maintain communication with all districts in Cairo.
"The various agencies are primarily concerned with security and health cases. Cairo province was notified by the Ministry of Health to take maximum precautions to receive and treat any Eid-related health incidents, especially food poisoning, fires and accidents," she said. "In addition, a state of emergency was declared at all Ministry of Health facilities including hospitals, clinics, and ambulance facilities. Key facilities have been linked to the province's operations room."
The ministry's security services developed a plan to control large crowds in public squares, cinemas and theatres and handle the anticipated traffic congestion. Twenty train cars were added to the subway system to accommodate large crowds during Eid.