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Francophone Morocco on Eid Mubarak Said

Last week, Morocco celebrated Aid el-Kebir (“Big Eid”), a festival commemorating Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son, Isaac, and God's mercy in sparing him.

Family members visit each other over the largest meals they can afford, exchange gifts (often clothing), give alms (zakat, one of the five Pillars of Islam) and sacrifice many cuddly, tasty sheep, a tradition that symbolizes the lamb God gave Abraham to take Isaac's place.

While some bloggers content themselves with offering kind wishes, others focus on diverse topics related to the holiday.

Agharass, a young Moroccan blogger sent out his warm wishes for a happy Eid 1428 (in the Hejira calendar) to the blogosphere, including

Mes meilleurs voeux de bonheur, d’amour, de réussite, de blogging, de partage et toutes les choses qui vous rendent heureux bon, kamlo men 3andkom…pour les musulmans et non musulmans!!!

“best wishes for happiness, love, success, blogging, sharing and all everything that brings you happiness” for both “muslims and non-muslims” [FR]!!!

France-based blogger Larbi writes [FR]:

Les musulmans de France ouvrent le bal demain Mercredi. Les Marocains sont parmi les derniers à le fêter vendredi prochain. A toutes et à tous bonne fête de l’aid. 3wacher mabrouka.

“Muslims in France will open the ball tomorrow, on Wednesday. Moroccans are among the last to celebrate [Aid] this coming Friday. Happy Aid to all. 3wacher mabrouka [“Happy Holidays” in Moroccan] .

Blogger Mourai Redouane waxed thoughtfully about the people he interacts with on a daily basis in Casablanca and who will travel to their far-off towns elsewhere in Morocco to be with their families for the holiday [FR]:

Je rentre chez moi en pensant à ces gens, tout ce petit monde qui va s’effacer momentanément d’un espace et prendre vie dans un autre, même dans un lapse de temps limité. Je me rends compte que je ne les connais pas vraiment ces gens là. Car pour se faire il faudrait les côtoyer là-bas dans leur élément et prêts de leurs racines. C’est en regardant ces gens, en sentant leur émotion et mon émotion à moi aussi que je retrouve le vrai sens de cette fête qui dépasse, à mon avis, de loin tout le cérémonial autour du mouton pour avoir une dimension social et humaine plus profonde, car porteuse de joie de prospérité….et de nouveaux souffles de vie.
A tous ces gens je souhaite un bon Aid, aussi je souhaite à tous ceux qui liront ces lignes Aid moubarak Said avec tous mes vœux de santé et de bonheur.
Une pensée spéciale ira aux femmes qui, je le sais, aiment particulièrement cette fête du fond de leurs cœurs…

I go home thinking about these people, all these little people who are going to momentarily erase themselves from one space and come alive in another, even in a limited lapse of time. I realize that I hardly know these people. To do that I would have to live among them there in their element and [near] to their roots. It was while looking at these people, while feeling their emotion and my own that I found the true meaning of this holiday which in my opinion goes beyond all the ceremony surrounding the sheep, and has a much deeper social and human dimension, bringing joy and prosperity…and new life.
A special thought goes out to the women who, I am positive, particularly love this holiday from the bottom of their hearts…

7didane, often with his tongue firmly planted in his cheek, offers up some Aid el-Kbir Resolutions [FR]:

1- Ne frimez pas avec le mouton : la taille ne compte pas.
2- Ne pas trop manger de viande.
3- Ne frimez pas avec le mouton : un seul suffit. Abraham voulait sacrifier un fils, pas deux.
4- Pensez à partager, à inviter. Et si vous le pouvez aider d'autres à acheter. Et ne frimez pas.
5- Pensez à acheter les habits de la fête aux petits qui n’en ont pas.
6- Ne frimez pas.
7- Pensez à donner entre 5Dhs et 50Dhs aux enfants même s’ils en ont. Et pas plus !
8- Visitez le plus de monde.
9- Souhaiter bonne fête à tout le monde. Même à ceux que vous ne connaissez pas, ceux qui vous rencontrez tout le temps mais à qui vous n’avez jamais adressé la parole, la femme de l’oncle de la tente qui a parlé dans ton dos … Pardonnez
10- Utilisez les gros sacs plastiques. C’est avant tout une fête.

1. Don't be a show-off with your sheep: size doesn't count.
2. Don't eat too much meat.
3. Don't be a show-off with your sheep: one is enough. Abraham wanted to sacrifice one son, not two.
4. Remember to share, to invite. And if you can, help others to purchase [a sheep]. Don't show off.
5. Remember to buy new holiday clothes for children who don't have any.
6. Don't show off.
7. Remember to give between 5 and 50 dirhams to the children, even if they already have some. But not more!
8. Visit as many people as possible.
9. Wish everyone a happy celebration. Even those who don't know, those you pass by all the time but to whom you've never spoken, the wife of the uncle of the aunt who spoke about you behind your back…Forgive her.
10. Use the big plastic bags. It is a celebration after all.

Blogger Agadir posted a funny Aid special on animal husbandry and the characteristics Moroccan judges are looking for in the contest to find the best sheep for the Aid sacrifice.

The post is entitled: “La Star Ac Hawli: Profile of a Sheep” (“Star Academy” being a European (with it's various North African incarnations) version of “American Idol” while “hawli” means “sheep” in Moroccan) [FR]:

Comme promis, nous proposons à nos chers lecteurs qui possèdent des connaissances limitées en élevage d’ovins les trois premiers candidats au casting de la semaine :

Le Sardi: Selon toute logique, nous ouvrons les festivités avec le champion des champions venu tout droit du plateau central, le Sardi. Les bêtes se caractérisent par leur hauteur au garrot et leur couleur blanche (sauf pour le contour des yeux, le museau, les extrémités des pattes et des oreilles qui sont noirs)…les Sardi sont généralement des moutons made in Settat, Kalâat Sraghna et Tadla, très prisés lorsqu’ils sont nourris aux grains.

Le Bergui : Bergui signifie en Dialectal marocain “brun” et désigne la race la plus répandue sur le territoire, avec un cheptel s’élevant à quelques 1 million et demi de brebis. Beaucoup plus petit que le Sardi, le Bergui (ou Tamahdit) est originaire du Moyen-Atlas et se singularise par sa couleur blanche et sa tête brune.

Le Chyadmi : L’autre brun de service est originaire des Chyadma (plaines de la région d’Essaouira). En plus d’une tête vraiment brune, tout le corps a une couleur plus sombre que celle des deux précédentes races.

Nous avons également remarqué un tempérament belliqueux de certains spécimens lors de notre passage au souk, mais nous ne saurions préciser s’il s’agit d’une particularité ou simplement d’un événement anecdotique…

Côté goût, il est connu que la viande d’agneau a un goût très prononcé, contrairement au veau, et que le Sardi demeure le plus apprécié des trois. Mais les qualités gustatives de chacun dépendent avant tout de son régime alimentaire.

As promised, we offer our dear readers who have limited knowledge of ovine rearing the three main candidates for this week's casting:The Sardi: following every logic, we open the festivities with the champion of champions coming strait from the central plateau, the Sardi. Usually of good quality, the animals are characterised by the height of their haunches and their white color…Highly desired because they are grain-fed.The Bergui: Bergui means in the Moroccan dialect “brown” and designates the most widespread species in the territory…much smaller that the Sardi, the Bergui (or Tamahdit [in Berber dialect]) originates in the Middle Atlas mountains and stands out by its white color and brown head.

The Chyadmi: the other brown one on duty originates in the Chyadma (plains in the region of Essaouira). In addition to a truly brown head, the entire body is of a darker color than that of the previous two species.

We also noted a combative temperament of certain specimens during our walk through the souk, but we wouldn't be able to specify whether it was an individual case of simply an anecdotal happenstance…

As for the taste, it's well known that lamp meat has a very strong taste, in contrast to that of the calf, and that the Sardi remains the most appreciated of the three. But the gustative qualities of each one depend above all on its eating habits.

Finally, blogger Bassirou turns to more serious affairs (though this last comment may be debatable by some) with a post about the occasional work opportunities provided by this holiday [FR]:

L’Aïd n’est pas uniquement l’occasion de renforcer les liens et de dissiper les discordes. Il permet aussi de générer des ‘‘emplois’’, aussi saisonniers ou occasionnels soient-ils. Ainsi, le temps d’une fête, nombreux sont ceux qui, par exemple, s’improvisent bouchers, histoire de se faire un peu de sous et… des tripes et têtes de moutons, offerts par des clients généreux. Pendant que d’autres se font brûleurs de têtes et squattent pour la circonstance des trottoirs qui deviennent de vrais dépotoirs.Il y a aussi ces petits transporteurs de moutons, de sacs de foin, de charbon, etc.

Les chennakas également sont là, ces intermédiaires de fortune qui acquièrent des moutons quelques semaines et même quelques heures auparavant (!) auprès des éleveurs, et qu’ils soumettent à une rude épreuve de gavage à l’eau et au sel entre autres, avant de les proposer en vente à un prix trois voire quatre fois plus élevé que le prix d’achat!

Il y a aussi et surtout des voleurs qui veillent et qui gâchent la fête à beaucoup de personnes. A l’approche de l’Aïd, ils écument les campagnes en volant moutons et vaches… Tandis que les moins hardis, mais néanmoins très malins, simulent des querelles dans les rues fréquentées pour attirer les plus crédules dans leur traquenard, et les déposséder en leur faisant la poche à leur insu! C’est tout cela qui pimente la fête …

Aid is not only a time for strengthening ties and clearing up discords. It also allows for generating “employment”, seasonal or occasional though it might be. Thus, during this holiday time, many are those who, for example, contrive to serve as butchers, just to make a few pennies and…mutton tripes and heads, offered by generous clients. While others become “head burners” [burning off the hair from the animals head in order to cook it] and squat on the sidewalks to do so, which become real refuse dump…The chennakas [people who among other nefarious tasks, show up out of nowhere during your haggling session with a sheep vendor, and conspire to overbid you just to drive up the price of the animal, taking a cut of the profits at the end] are also there, those intermediaries of fortune who acquire sheep a few weeks and even a few hours (!) beforehand from the shepherds, which they submit to a cruel ordeal of forcefeeding of salt and water among other things, before offering them for sale at a price three to four times higher than the purchase price!…There are also and above all thieves who wait for and ruin the celebrations for many people. At the approach of Aid, they skim over the countryside stealing sheep and cows…while those less bold but nevertheless quite crafty, feign quarrels in busy streets to attract the most gullible into their trap, and to dispossess them of their pockets’ contents when their backs are turned. All this adds spice to the festivities…

3 comments

  • Craig

    Try to get you religious traditions correct. For the Muslem world the Aïd commerates the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice Ismaïl, his son by the slave Haga. In the Judéo-Christian tradition it is the sacrifice of Issac, the son of his wife Sarah.

  • Lydia Beyoud

    Craig, it’s true that I did not take into consideration that the identity of Abraham’s son might be different according to the different faiths. Thank you sincerely for pointing that out and reminding me to double check such issues in the future.
    I also realize that I forgot to mention that the culmination of the Hajj also corresponds with Aid el Kebir.

  • Rachid

    Hi,

    °a festival commemorating Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son, Isaac, and God’s mercy in sparing him.%

    Muslims believe Abraham tried to sacrifice his son Ishmael not Isaac.

    Salam

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