October 26 2012 marks Eid Al-Adha right across the Muslim world (although lunar visibility can make small modifications of the exact start time in different countries). Here in Morocco the event is officially a four day holiday although many independent vendors will decide for themselves when to re-open for business. But we expect a degree of normality to resume next Tuesday.
Eid Al-Adha is also known as the Feast of the Sacrifice and it occurs on the 10th day of the final month (Dhu al-Ḥijjah) of the Islamic calendar. This is an important month in Islam as it is the month of the Hajj pilgrimage and also contains the Day of Arafa (on day 9) and one of the most important religious holidays of all Eid Al-Adha.
Eid Al-Adha remembers the moment where Abraham was going to sacrifice Ishmael (his son) as an act of devotion to God. However, as Abraham could not face to see the sacrifice he performed the task blindfolded. After completion he found God had replaced Ishmael with a Ram.
Consequently the slaughter of a sheep is a highly symbolic feature of Eid Al-Adha and they have had a high presence right throughout Marrakech for several weeks. Each family has saved hard to try and afford a live sheep and for many it is seen as an essential purchase. However, a whole sheep is not a cheap item and this year many families have struggled to afford one.. But, this is a time of sharing. Families and neighbours will ensure that good will is extended to all.
Consequently, Marrakech is currently causing a sensory overload as the smell of roast lamb fills the air. Not the very best time to be vegetarian.
Riad Al-Bushra Home Page www.riadalbushra.com