Marrakech - Every year and during every al-Adha feast, each Dadsi person pilgrimages back to Boumalne Dades.
Marrakech – Every year and during every al-Adha feast, each Dadsi person pilgrimages back to Boumalne Dades.
It is a great occasion when families get together; no one should miss this tremendous day. Mothers spend their days sitting in front of doors and at windows, looking at the roads and waiting for their children to come back from the bigger cities to celebrate this wonderful day with them. All mothers pray and wish their kids to arrive in safety and peace as the roads become overcrowded during this celebration. On buses, cars, motorcycles, and taxis, people travel in groups to get home.
I’m one of these people; I can’t imagine celebrating Eid al-Adha away from my mother and my family. I make sure that I book my bus ticket about fifteen days before departure. I, like everyone, pay more than we usually do for tickets, because most buses might already be reserved. When on the bus, away from the stress of bus stations, I feel relieved and very happy: after several months, I’m finally on the way home.
During this trip, and on a very wavy road, the Tichka, some people can not bear the frequent turning around of the bus and easily vomit, but despite that everyone still seems happy and cheerful. They keep asking each other how many months it’s been since they last visited home and many other questions.
After three hours of driving from Marrakech, the bus stops at Tadart, where people have a break and something to eat. Some people eat rissole, tajine, T-steak, or just packaged things for those who don’t trust the cooked meat. In that same spot, we feel cold and notice that the weather is different from that in Marrakech or other cities. We stop wearing t-shirts when Eid falls between October and March. The farther southeast we go, the more appealing mountains we pass.
After six hours of a heavy and interesting trip, the bus drops me off in Tamazirt, Boumalne Dades, and I walk for several minutes towards home with gifts in my hands. Even when I arrive late at night, everybody in my family, including my mom, stays awake to receive me. The family becomes very excited and joyful to hug and kiss me. After few seconds, they start asking me about the trip, if it was safe and smooth, and they ask about my friends and the weather in my host city. During this first meeting while we are talking, my mother immediately goes to the kitchen to prepare some tea and bring dinner.
All of this happens for the feast Adha that comes a few days after my arrival. It is celebrated two months and ten days after the feast of Ramadan. The day after I arrive, I go to the shelter of our sheep to see how big our ram is. Then we go out to see friends and other members of our extended family and go to the souk to buy everything we need for the feast.
First, I buy a few kilos of meat for Arafat, the day before the feast, and some ingredients for cakes that my sisters and aunts often prepare. By Arafat day, all members of the family are together having fun and enjoying long talks about experiences and news that happened during and throughout the year.
On pins and needles, everyone waits enthusiastically for the day of the feast. On the morning, the mom is always the first to wake up, at about 5 am, sweeping and cleaning the living rooms and the courtyard of the house, as we expect many visits from people in our village. My sisters and aunts get up to prepare a special breakfast by cooking soup, mssemmen, baghrir, cakes, and rice. My grandmother does not eat anything until she has breakfast with the liver of the ram that we are supposed to slaughter, as she practices this Sunnah habit.
After breakfast usually at about 7 or 8 am, men and women choose the best or newest clothes, often white jellabas and babouchs, and go to the mosque for the prayer of Eid. When getting closer to the mosque, one can hear the early comers repeating some religious sayings, such as “Allah Akbar Allah Akbar La ilah illa Allah,” or ‘God is the greatest, God is the Greatest, and there is no other God but God.’
Some people congratulate each other on the way to the mosque, but most people congratulate each other after the prayer. On Mssellah, everyone without exception hugs and kisses each others’ cheeks, wishing a very happy day. If anyone is on bad terms with someone else, they reconcile and start a fresh relationship.
After praying, and after the imam slaughters his ram, everybody returns home to slaughter their own ram. When I get home, I make sure all the knives are sharp and change into other clothes so that I do not spoil my white jellaba with the blood of the ram. Before slaughtering the ram, my grandmother puts some salt in its mouth and some (antimony) tazoult/kohl on its eyes. Then the father or anyone who knows how to slaughter does the job. During this time, the family takes pictures and the women start ululating, especially if the ram can stand up for seconds even after it is slaughtered.
Afterward, the family gathers and begins having some steak and brochettes. At lunch we have tajines, fruits, and some lemonade. The meat of lunch that day is leftover from Arafat, since we start cutting the slaughtered ram three days after the feast, and we eat the head of the ram on the seventh day. This is how our ancestors used to celebrate the rituals of the Eid and has now become a habit.
In the afternoon, young girls and boys go visit and wish a happy Eid to all the families in our village. This includes more than 150 families, especially families that have old or sick people or a family that has just lost someone. On the second and third days, we visit people of other villages or tribes.
After Eid, everyone goes back to his or her study or work. Most of travelers don’t return home again for about seven months or until the next Eid al-Fitr, which is celebrated in its own special way.
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