Eid Al Adha, something like the equivalent of Muslim Christmas in Morocco, is a major holiday celebrated at the end of the lunar year. Filled with feasting, and a little gore, it is a celebration of the story of Ibrahim (or Abraham, if you are Christian) who sacrificed a sheep for his son. In honor of this sacrifice, Muslim families are invited to slaughter their own sheep, or howli, as a celebration of this act. Morocco takes this holiday more seriously than other Islamic countries, slaughtering a whopping 5 million sheep every year in honor of Eid Al Adha, also know as The Big Feast. Unknowing of the joys of Eid, I was unaware of the holiday’s arrival before a few signs that appeared in the souk, or street market that I walk through everyday, and within the medina in general. For starters…
Knives. Knives everywhere, in rather elaborate displays.
Heaping sacks of coal for sale… Is something going on here?
Spices. More than usual. Hmm, something’s cooking.
Bales of hay…. Uhh, who could that be for?
Oh. Herds of live, rather smelly, howli in the street. Casual.
Oh. Hi there, dinner. This little guy greeted me in our very own living room about two days before Eid.
WARNING. Graphic Images Below.
Happy Eid Al Adha!
The actual act of the slaughtering itself wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. My family gathered on the roof of our house, and with the help of some men to hold down the sheeps tied legs, they placed a sugar cube in its mouth, said “Bismallah“, or “In the name of God” and slit its throat. It was over in about 5 minutes. I would have struggled with this act had I not known that this howli must have lived a much happier life than a lot of the meat we eat in the united states. At least he roamed free at one point, and was fed real grass. About an our later, we ate howli kebabs and cooked liver and stomach… apparent delicacies. I had a little trouble savoring the lamb meat after living in such close quarters with the little devil for a few days, but this was definitely an interesting experience.
Until next time my curious-minded friends,