Friday, November 27, 2009

Eid al-Adha - "Festival of Sacrifice"

In Egypt today, and all across the Muslim world, they are beginning a 3-day celebration. Following is a definition of this holiday I found in Wickepedia. On the first morning, each family will sacrifice an animal, usually a goat, sheep or bull, depending on what they can afford. Then the families share the meat with others, especially the poor people who cannot afford their own. One-third of the animal’s meat is consumed by the family, while the other two-thirds are given away to friends and the poor Islamic residents of the community, respectively.

During the weeks before this festival you can see groups of animals everywhere. Large groups of sheep, goats and bulls can be seen in places all along the streets. As a foreigner here, it is sometimes quite a shock. For a week or two prior to the festival, one might have a neighbor that buys one of these animals. You get used to seeing it around. Then all of a sudden, you wake up one morning and the animal is gone. Or worse, you look out your back window and see what is about to happen, or has already happened to the poor thing.

I took all of the pictures above from the internet, as I could not bring myself to take pictures of the actual animals I saw in the streets.

(Definition from Wickepedia)
Eid al-Adha - "Festival of Sacrifice" or "Greater Eid" is a holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide to commemorate the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God. It is also celebrated by the Druze, an esoteric non-Islamic faith, whose origins stem from Shiite Islam.

Eid al-Adha is the latter of two Eid festivals celebrated by Muslims, whose basis comes from the Quran.[1] Like Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha begins with a short prayer followed by a sermon.

Eid al-Adha annually falls on the 10th day of the month of Dhul Hijja of the lunar Islamic calendar. The festivities last for three days or more depending on the country. Eid al-Adha occurs the day after the pilgrims conducting Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia by Muslims worldwide, descend from Mount Arafat. It happens to be approximately 70 days after the end of the month of Ramadan.


  1. Hi Jackleen, my husband is flying into the Sudan as we speak. Because of this festival, nothing will be open until Monday! He says he should have stayed home until then.

  2. There are official slaughterhouses here in France that handle all the killing. The individuals are present and take part in the sacrifice. These were created because too many people were killing the goats and sheep in their bathtubs.
    Happy holiday!

  3. Dedene, yes, unfortunately a lot of that goes on here. The sad thing is, is that lots of people here just do it on their own, and the majority of the people do not know how to do it humanely. The nice thing is, is that we don't see near as much of it in our new area "publicly".

    Jo, I agree with your husband. We got two extra days off of school here, but lots of stores and shops are closed. It is a good time though to just spend time with the family, which we have done, mostly because of Thanksgiving though.

  4. Yay - I was so glad this year that Eid fell right after Thanksgiving - how cool is that?! A double thanksgiving celebration for us! ;)
    In our area (Northern VA), they have farms where you can go to that. You can also pay someone to do it for you - that's what my husband's family does in Jordan.
    I actually get a huge kick out of the cartoon sheep/goats everywhere at this time. Although I thought the tv commercials were getting a bit violent! ;) lol

  5. Little P,
    Yes, that was kind of neat for us here too. We could talk to the people here about our traditions and they could tell us about theirs. It was nice.