Eid Al-Adha, known to Moroccans as Eid Al-Kabir, is the holiest Muslim holiday. The celebration occurs on the 10th day of the Islamic calendar’s final lunar month, Dhou Al-Hijja.
By Yassine El Hattch
Rabat – The religious roots of this festival date back to Abraham, the father of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, also known as the Abrahamic religions. In a dream, God instructed Abraham to sacrifice his son. The patriarch took his son Ishmael to the mountain to fulfill God’s command. As Abraham laid the knife on his son’s neck, God called loudly from the seventh sky, rescinding the order. God then replaced the son with a sheep. This story is the basis for Eid Al-Kabir, or ‘The Great Eid,’ to be celebrated in the next few days.
The sacrifice is Sunnah of the Prophet Mohammed. It was legitimated by God through the Prophet, as an offer to forgive his sins and to closer approach God’s mercy. The sacrifice is not circumscribed just to sheep, a common misconception. Other halal animals, such as camels, cows, and goats, are economically and religiously acceptable sacrifices on Eid Al-Adha. All lead to the same result, closeness to God. The ritual must be performed under specific conditions which respect the animal and the sacrifice’s significance.
In Morocco, the Great Eid has taken on social, economic, and customary dimensions. As Eid approaches, families and individuals seek out a suitable sheep or other animals to sacrifice. Even though the slaughter is not mandatory for those who cannot afford it, several poor families borrow money in order to buy a sheep or goat. Sheep are most commonly sacrificed in Moroccan cities, while goats are more commonly slaughtered in rural villages.
On the morning of the Great Eid, Muslims don their traditional Jellaba and Jabador or put on their best attire, and go to the mosque or the Mussala (an open-air space outside the cities and villages) to make the prayer of Eid.
After prayer, Moroccans perform the sacrifice ritual. Once the blood has run its course, families visit each other in the evening. The Great Eid continues for three days, a happy communal celebration filled with rich religious meaning, as stomachs fill with rich traditional meat dishes.
Edited by Perri Huggins