Morocco: Eid al-Adha

In my last post, I shared the thoughts of foreigners on Christmas (or a lack thereof) in Morocco. This week, we'll change focus to the celebration of Eid Al-Adha, the holiday which Muslims celebrate as a commemoration of Ibrahim's (Abraham's) willingness to sacrifice his son Ismael for Allah (God).

Braveheart-does-the-Maghreb has noticed her neighbors getting ready for the feast:

Yesterday I noticed the young women who are my neighbors were out whitewashing the sidewalks of our street. There are fresh bales of hay giving off the smell of a country sunrise stacked throughout the Medina, and I passed several sheep being carted to an unknown fate on my way home. Later in the day Abdul Latif, my landlord, arrived at my door to tell me I must get to the hannout and stock up because all the shops will be closed for three days. I think it starts tomorrow but it might be today. I'm going out later to check. I will keep you updated.

The View From Fez reports on sheep prices in Fez:

If you want a really nice sheep, pop off to the tents in the carparks at Acima or Marjane (the supermarkets) where there's a wide choice. You'll need to know how to check its teeth and prod it about a bit to make sure it's good quality. This year a live sheep will cost you Dh41 per kilo, which just goes to prove that inflation isn't very high in Morocco. Three years ago, it was Dh35 per kilo. Mind you, a sheep must weigh at least 40kg, so that's a minimum of Dh1640; rather more than the average Christmas turkey, and very expensive for many families. But in this culture of helping your neighbour, no-one will go hungry, every family will get their sheep, even if they share with relatives. And some wealthy people will buy a hundred or two sheep and give them away.

Sheep in Carossa

simply wishes friends happy holidays:

May your hearts and homes be blessed with PEACE, LOVE and LAUGHTER.

Blogger SunnyRaindrops, a new “face” in the Blogoma, has posted a recipe for the holiday, explaining:

Some people think that steamed lamb looks unattractive (though no one denies that it is incredibly good). If you feel this way you may brown the eat quickly in butter or oil at the end, or roast it at high heat until it browns.

The trick to this and other lamb dishes from Morocco is to cook the lamb beyond the point of stringiness to the stage where the meat is butter-tender and very moist.

Steamed food should be eaten the moment it is ready, when it is at it's peak: if left too long, it will dry out.

This is what my family eats on the first day of the Festival of the Sacrifice.

To Morocco and Beyond, another new face and a Peace Corps blogger, has come face to face with his host family's Eid dinner already:

My host father informed me that we will be eating lamb and proceeded to show me a room behind his hanut (a small convenient store he owns that is below our house) where the lamb was being fed very well. As I looked at the lamb I tried not to make eye contact because I knew it would making eating him later more difficult. I'm sure I will have much more to write about this later on… beacuse if I understood my host father correctly someone is going to learn how to be a butcher…

Whatever you celebrate, be it Eid al-Adha, Christmas, Hannukah, or otherwise, have a wonderful holiday and happy new year.

Photo by Tom Fakler

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