Eid ElKbir

EID MUBARAK SAID (pronounced eeed moo-ba-rack sah-eed)

We got up at 9am on Eid morning. I’d spent all night having crazy dreams where people talked like sheep, due to the sheep being tethered outside our window all night. We had a nice chilled breakfast, and then everyone got changed into their sheep killing clothes. Let me explain a little of the background of this festival, for those of you who don’t know.

Abraham, one of the Old Testament prophets, was ordered by God to kill his son Isaac. Because he was a good believer, he went right ahead and was all ready to kill his son when God stopped him and told him he had proven himself. In reverence to God, he slaughtered a sheep in place of his son, as an offering. Very Old Testament by anyone’s standards. Now, as those religious ones of you will recognise, that means this story appears in all three religious texts, that is to say The Bible, the Qur’an and the Torah. However, it’s the Islamic faith who really do this one – it hardly figures for Christians.

So back to my story. Vegetarians, look away now. There was a bit of fiddling to get the sheep over onto it’s back with it’s legs tied. Then there was a bit of word-saying before Aziz bared the neck and sliced it right open. Blood spurted right up the wall of the courtyard. It was an experience. Even once the neck had been half severed, the sheep still twitched. BMB told me that sometimes it gets right up and tries to run, with its head hanging off. I’m glad that didn’t happen. After most of the blood had drained they snapped the neck and took the head clean off. They made an incision in the leg and took turns blowing the carcass up, so that the skin would come off more easily. It took about an hour for BMB and Aziz to skin the sheep, doing it delicately, with a scalpel. Its funny but you just don’t think of sheep as having tails, but they really do have quite long ones, this being a point of slight struggle in the skinning process. Then they sliced the torso open and took out the innards, which were our lunch. Liver and heart kebabs. I didn’t eat much. The rest of the innards and meat will get eaten over the course of the next two or three days, until we go back to Fes. For some families, this is the meat they save up for all year.

I’m not squeemish, and I watched the whole thing. I’m also not vegetarian, so I cannot be high and mighty about the killing of animals. But there is something about watching the person you live with take the life out of a living thing. Its not something I’m interested in repeating. The rest of the afternoon thankfully didn’t follow suit. After lunch we just chilled, and then the loud men who I met on Sunday came round to play Spanish cards, a game which is even more difficult to understand in Arabic, as it turns out.

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