Desmond Mgboh, Kano
This year’s Sallah celebration set forth in a peaceful, quiet manner in the ancient city of Kano. A clear sky, lined with silver smiles unveiled behind the clouds as the day emerged gently to embrace the waiting world.
Up till the dawn of Sallah Day, thousands of Muslims in the city waited anxiously. As they waited joyously, so they prepared fervently. They did all they could do to celebrate in a special way, engaging in last minute shopping of assorted items and cleaning up their environments.
With the monthly salary alerts arriving just in time, accompanied by the influx of cash- backed, high heeled male and female Abuja elite, virtually nobody and nowhere was left out of action. Indeed, the buzz could be felt miles away and in many ways.
Different markets, small and big, in the capital had traffic of buyers and sellers. The same rush was replicated at various super-markets and stores. Buyers bought many items, from glossaries, to proteins, fabrics, shoes and to decorative items of various sorts.
But the biggest deal was struck at the ram markets. Families, rich and poor, went for at least a sacrificial ram each. Many others went for more than one rams depending on the size of their families and the depth of their pockets. Home after home family after family; fat, healthy sheep cried helplessly as they came under sharp knives.
Many elites and men of means, however, retained the tradition of slaughtering at least a cow, in addition to several rams. Alhaji Usman Abdullahi told Daily Sun that meats from cow are larger in size than those of rams: “It is preferable to slaughter a cow for the sacrificial distribution, given that it would go ground the neigbourhood.”
On Sallah day, the Muslim community set forth to pray. They picked up their fine clothings and went to pray. Unlike in the past when the state was ruled by fear, there was nothing to fear. The city was safe and calm and the faithful worshipped without fear.
There were many acts of charity and kindness during Sallah. Governor Abdullahi Ganduje led the pack in this regard. He, alongside along Senator Barau Jibrin, Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Usman Alhaji, Head of Service, Dr Kabiru Shehu, were at the Kano Central Prisons, Goron Dutse, Children Remand Home, Gorondutse and VVF Centre.
At the Central Prisons, the governor exercised his prerogative of mercy, facilitating the release of 200 aged and sick inmates from various prisons. He told them:
“Some of you are released because of old ages, some because of illness and some of you are released after paying the fines put on their shoulders by different courts. After we paid on their behalf, they can now go and rejoice with their families during this Sallah festive period.”
He charged the freed inmates to apply for admission into the various skills acquisition programmes: “Ours is to remodel and readjust your life for better.”
The second day of Sallah emerged with a floral of beautiful spectacles. Everything was peaceful and at the same time. A few police patrolmen were spotted at strategic posts, watching the easy flow of happy traffic across the city. They were at road junctions, roundabouts and city centres. But they minded their business as celebrants relive a life of fun.
From the royal palace, it was pure joy for the Emir of Kano, Mallam Muhammad Sanusi, who gladly performed the traditional Hauwan Sallah, characterised by a royal ride to Gidan Shettima. The monarch treated the world to a beautiful Durbar.
Known as Hauwan Daushe, the Durbar featured scores of district heads, riding in a convoy of colourful horses, returning to the palace to pay respect to the emir. This year’s event played host to the President of Guinea, Professor Alpha Conde and other members of the diplomatic corps.
On the third day after Sallah, (Hawan Nassarawa) the emir arrived at the Government House early in the day and thereafter rode around the city amid cheers from thousands of his subjects.
Recalling a well-spent festival, Alhaji Mohammed Nur, a journalist attached to the Government House said he had a wonderful time: “Thereafter, I came back to the office and proceeded to Dakata-Bella village in Nassarawa Local Government to buy my Sallah ram.
“I bought the ram for N45,000, because rams are generally cheaper in villages. They are also cheaper if they are bought on the Sallah or the morning of the day after Sallah.
“By the time I got home, I invited some neighbours to hold the ram while I slaughtered the animal. I then invited some commercial butchers to open up the animal and wash it. This is to make the work of the frying of the meat easier for my wife.
“The most memorable aspect of the celebration is distribution of the meat to many of the less privileged members of the society and the distribution of chin- chin as Barka Da Sallah to kids in my neighbourhood.”
For Abubakar Audu: “This Sallah is very quiet, very peaceful. In the recent years, we have had a very quiet celebration, very different from the past. Our people were happy all the way and I am sure that this trend would continue in the state in the coming years.”