By Muath Freij
AMMAN – During the bygone days of the 1950s, Eid Al Adha in Amman was very different from how it is today, according to residents who remember that era.
Yasin Akkash, whose father Saadi was a sheep trader in the capital, said the process of selling and slaughtering sheep was much simpler in those days.
All sheep traders and their goods were located in one market, he explained, unlike today when sheep are sold in several stockyards around the capital.
Akkash explained that the market was first situated downtown in Ras Al Ain, but was later moved to other locations as the area became more residential.
“Downtown Amman drew a lot of people who settled there and it became a residential area, so the sheep souk moved to Qweismeh during the 1970s, where the King Abdullah Sports City is now located. After that, the market was moved to Sahab,” Akkash said.
The sheep market in Qweismeh was comparatively “modern”, he recalled, with several gardens planted around the market to beautify it.
“Some traders even had a telex machine,” he noted.
Most Jordanians preferred to slaughter their sheep at home and would buy them one week before Eid.
Maniya Maaitah, one of the oldest merchants on Wadi Seer Street, noted that Amman residents bought the sheep early to let their children play with them and have fun before Eid.
“But when the sheep was slaughtered, some children cried and others stopped eating meat because they became attached to them,” the 84-year-old recounted with a smile.
Akkash added that professional butchers supervised the delivery of the sheep and slaughtered the animals at their clients’ homes.
Maaitah explained that sheep were sold at affordable prices at the time.
“They cost between JD4 and JD7 per head. Most Amman residents could afford to sacrifice,” he told The Jordan Times in a recent interview at his grocery in downtown Amman.