Eid el-Kabir, aka Sallah, is a time of great excitement for Muslim families. It means new clothes, plenty of fried meat, and quality time with family. But what if things took a different turn? Maybe a relative isn’t around anymore, or a family simply can’t afford to celebrate.

These are the experiences of the Muslims in this article who share what it’s like to have a quieter Sallah. Their stories remind us that celebrations can change for everyone each year, and that’s okay.

What’s It Like Marking Sallah Without a Ram? — We Asked These Muslims


We used to travel to Abeokuta for Sallah every year, but this stopped after my grandpa died in 2014. The Sallah after his death, we didn’t really celebrate. He was always in charge of everything, from buying the rams to organising the women in our village to help with cooking. It was too much for my mum and her siblings to handle the next Sallah. The family also couldn’t agree on whether we should go to Abeokuta like we always did or stay in Lagos. We ended up staying in Lagos and didn’t do anything. We visited family friends on Sallah day, and that was it. That’s definitely my least favourite Sallah.


It looks like this will be our first Sallah without a ram. The prices are too expensive, and my dad has been complaining. Usually, we always had our ram a week or two before Sallah. But it’s Friday already, and there’s no sign of a ram anywhere. My dad used to travel to the north with his friend because prices are relatively cheaper there, but that friend died late last year, and he couldn’t make the trip alone this year. I overheard him telling my mum that prices for a medium-sized goat are around ₦300k-₦350k. Knowing my dad, he wouldn’t spend that much on a goat. Right now, I’m keeping my hopes in check.


We didn’t slaughter a ram for Sallah in 2019. I can’t remember my parents’ exact reason, but it was money-related. Shame wanted to kill me because my friends in our estate kept asking about our ram. I initially told them it was on the way because I genuinely thought that was the case. Two days to Sallah, my parents dropped the news, and I felt like a fraud. I just kept avoiding my friends until Sallah day. I didn’t even go for Eid prayers that morning. The most painful part was that the other Muslim folks didn’t bring food to our house because they knew we were Muslims, and I guess they assumed we would be celebrating.


We’ve not celebrated Sallah since my dad died in 2021. He used to handle the expenses and all the wahala that comes with buying the ram. But since his death, my mum hasn’t been keen on celebrating, and I understand. The bills of taking care of the house and my siblings really choke. We now spend Sallah with her parents, who are my grandparents. Celebrating with them isn’t bad, but I miss when it used to be our ram in our house. Now, we’re like those family members who visit because they can’t afford their own ram.


Our first Sallah without a ram was in 2017. That year, my dad travelled a week before Sallah but had already bought our ram. It was a really big one with pointy horns, and everyone kept commenting on how it would be a badass fighter. I don’t know if it was the comment that got to my older brother or the cash prize he thought he’d win, but he entered the ram in a street fight competition. I warned him against it, but he didn’t listen; his friends gave him ginger. I was so close to telling my parents, but I didn’t want to snitch, so I just turned a blind eye to the whole thing. On the day of the fight, my brother came home earlier than usual, looking like his whole world had crashed. Well, in a way, that was what happened because our ram got injured and died. We had to do an impromptu slaughtering so it wouldn’t go to waste. My parents didn’t care to listen that my brother took the ram fighting. We both got punished and that Sallah was gloomy AF.


We’ve never celebrated Sallah without a ram. Although, I don’t know what is happening this year. Most Muslims in our estate already have their rams tied up somewhere around their house, but we’ve not gotten ours yet. I asked my mum what was up yesterday, and she said, “Go and ask your father.” I’ve not asked him because that man has been in a foul mood for some time. Although I remember it took a while for our ram to arrive last year, Sallah is on Sunday, and it’s already Friday; we only have today and tomorrow. I’m hoping the ram is on the way sha.

Read this next: 20 Thoughtful Eid-el-Kabir Messages and Prayers For Your Loved Ones



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