If you are visiting Morocco during Eid al-Adha and you are not a vegetarian, you should jump at the chance to spend the feast with a Moroccan family if they invite you.
Rabat – Moroccans will celebrate Eid al-Adha on August 22 , by sacrificing a sheep or goat and enjoying traditional holiday dishes.
Besides the significance of Eid al-Adha in Islam, the feast represents a special and unique feast in the North African country and Muslim countries in general.
In Morocco, there are many traditions with this religious holiday; the most significant is the sacrifice of a sheep or goat, at least one-year-old.
Following the Eid prayer in the morning, custom requires the head of the family to slaughter the sheep or goat using a sharp knife to end his suffering quickly.
Traditional Moroccan Eid dishes
The process of preparing the meat is the most important Moroccan tradition. During the four days of Eid, despite the expensive price of meat, families serve meat-rich dishes using various parts of the animal’s body, such as the head, stomach, and feet.
Moroccans tend to be very frugal, using up all the parts of the animal. There are special dishes which use the head, tail, intestines, stomach, and feet. Even the brains, fat, and testicles do not go to waste.
On the first day of Eid, most families serve stomach specialties of the sheep, as well as liver covered in fat. This may seem strange and high in cholesterol, but the barbecued dish is a favorite among many Moroccans.
In the evening of the first day, the perfect dish is couscous with the sheep’s head or with fresh shoulder meat and the seven vegetables: onions, zucchini, pumpkin, carrots, cabbage, tomato, kohlrabi and sometimes sweet potato. Chickpeas and chili are also among the important ingredients in couscous.
On the following day, Moroccans serve an all meat barbecue, salads, and mkhmar or batbout, a semi flat bread cooked in a frying pan.
Mrouzia is also one of the most important dishes served in the week of Eid al-Adha. The dish combines sweet, salty, and spicy ingredients in a meat tajine (Moroccan stew).
In addition to the sacrifice, the holiday is an opportunity for Moroccan families to strengthen their relationships, exchanging visits and gathering around the same table to share delicious traditional dishes.
Eid al-Adha is also for other Moroccans a time to rush to markets dedicated to traditional clothing, where they buy new traditional clothes to accompany the atmosphere of the sacred festival.
A significant Islamic holiday
In Islam, Eid al-Adha (the Feast of Sacrifice) celebrates the end of the Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca. Every Muslim celebrates the holiday, even if he did not make the pilgrimage that year.
It is one of the most important times of the year for Muslims who celebrate, surrounded by their loved ones, the ritual of sheep sacrifice.
Although modernism is beginning to invade homes, many families still keep the tradition of the holiday.
The sacrificed sheep is cooked and shared. The symbolic significance of the ritual of sacrifice is therefore also that of sharing with the poor, mutual help, and generosity. A large part, a third normally, is given to the poor. It is a very happy moment, and the atmosphere is generally warm.
From delicious breakfasts to joyful family gatherings and the generous offering of sacrifice meat to the poor, Eid al-Adha offers a beautiful celebration, not only to Moroccans but to Muslims worldwide.
Why slaughter the sheep?
The ritual commemorates Abraham’s sacrifice. According to the Qur’an, God had subjected Abraham to a severe test of his fidelity and piety: God had asked him to sacrifice his son Ishmael, which Abraham finally accepted.
While Abraham was leading his son to his fate, God, grateful, sent him a sheep to replace Ishmael on the sacrificial place.
The act of slaughter is credited to Abrahm’s good deeds since the prophet emphasized in a hadith: “For every hair, you will receive a good action.”