CAIRO (XINHUA) – Despite the difficult economic conditions, boutiques in Cairo, the Egyptian capital, are thronged with customers who come to buy gifts and decorations for the upcoming New Year.
“Celebrating the New Year is common among Egyptians, when family members gather in an intimate atmosphere to welcome it with hope and love,” Issac Lamia, a taxi driver from Cairo, told Xinhua when buying gifts for the holiday.
The middle-aged man said the prices this year are much higher than those in previous years, so he chose to buy cheaper gifts and decorations he can afford.
“I bought a toy and some gifts for my two kids and wife,” Lamia said, adding celebrating the new year brings happiness to the family, especially children.
In the past year, the Egyptian government has been striving to curb soaring inflation caused by rising food and energy prices as a result of the Russia-Ukraine conflict and lingering COVID-19 pandemic.
In November, its annual urban consumer inflation rate rose to 18.7 per cent from 16.2 per cent in October, marking the highest increase since December 2017, according to official data.
For sellers, the New Year holidays are an important season to make up for the losses incurred during the economic recession. Victor Farouk, owner of a boutique in Cairo, told Xinhua that his business is unexpectedly doing well this season, but he still offered discounts to boost sales.
“I have to buy holiday gifts for my grandchildren even if the prices are high… They wait for this holiday eagerly every year,” Suzan Awad told Xinhua as she was shopping for gifts. She noted that although some of the items were expensive, it was not really “a big burden” as they are bought only once a year.
“The most important thing for the family is to celebrate the occasion, and the feast cannot be happy without gifts,” she said.