Spiritual education is a keystone of how I am raising my sons, and I am always inspired to hear how other parents are working to raise their children along a spiritual path. In the series Parenting and Faith I feature posts from bloggers discussing how their religion or philosophy influences their parenting. I am so pleased to share today’s post, which comes to us from Amanda of MarocMama, a fellow board member of Multicultural Kid Blogs and one of my favorite bloggers.
Eid al Adha in Morocco
Eid al Adha is one of the biggest celebrations on the Islamic calendar, and I’ve been often told no Eid experience is complete until you can have it in a Muslim country. I have been Muslim for almost 10 years but it wasn’t until this year that we were able to share Eid with our Moroccan family.
The history of the holiday dates back thousands of years to the Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) and his sons Ismai’il (Ishmael) and Ishaq (Issac). God had ordered Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ismai’il as a sign of his obedience. The devil attempted to intercede telling Ibrahim to save his son and just as Ibrahim was about to take his son’s life, God replaced the son with a lamb. Eid al Adha is a time when Muslims remember the willingness of Ibrahim and the mercy of God. In doing this, those who can afford it sacrifice a ram. The meat of the animal is then divided 1/3 for the family, 1/3 for extended family and 1/3 for the poor who couldn’t afford to slaughter an animal.
While we lived in the United States we did celebrate Eid. We were fortunate that we lived in areas that we could go to a form and perform the slaughter. Our kids have been exposed to the story and understand why we do this. All things being equal I saw a big difference this year between our kids and Moroccan kids who have grown up here celebrating. In the US it’s hard to feel that there is anything special about Islamic holidays because there’s just not that many Muslims to share with. But here, you could tell something was different as the week began.
This is the entrance to the sheep market. Shepherds bring in their animals to the cities to sell them before the holiday. You might be thinking, so what do you do with a sheep until it’s the day of the holiday? Well, when you live in a big city the sheep lives with you – yes that’s right – you. We are fortunate that we have a rooftop and so ours took up residence there. The bleating of sheeps and goats can be heard day and night before the big day.
The difference between my kids and Moroccan kids really boiled down to their lack of enthusiasm. Moroccan kids wait for this holiday, it’s a VERY big deal to them. My kids know it’s a holiday, they get off of school, but really killing a sheep is just not that high on their “way awesome” thermometer. There are cookies and treats, a special breakfast, and maybe a small gift or two given to them but really the big treat here is that your family gets a sheep.
Breakfast is my favorite part of the day. There are a lot of Moroccan foods that are only made 1 or 2 times a year. In our family hrbil is one of them. This reminds me of a mixture between rice pudding and oatmeal. It’s barley that’s been cooked in milk and is drizzled with butter and honey. Music to my mouth!
It’s after breakfast and visiting the mosque for Eid prayers (most women stay home) that the work begins.
A butcher comes to many homes to help make sure the slaughter is done correctly and to help the family process the animal. Everything, and I really mean everything, from the animal is saved and eaten. There are trucks that come around to pick up the skins. These are then taken and cleaned in a tannery and made into leather. The heads – yup they eat that too and they are prepared a special way. The first day of Eid includes many food items of organs as those will go bad first. Boulfaf, or a specially cooked liver kebab is the first “snack” and highly anticipated. Intestines (cleaned) and other bits of meat are hung out on the line for several days to dry and are then saved to use in flavoring dishes. I really do give them a lot of credit for using everything but there are many parts of our sheep I happily gave away to my in-laws who would certainly enjoy it more than me.
I’m glad that we were able to spend this holiday here. My kids are learning a completely new side of their culture that would have been totally different if they had only ever celebrated in the US. With everything, there will always be differences, things I don’t /won’t/can’t understand but I am hopefully that through their experiences they will become more open and accepting – no matter what is thrown at them.
Amanda is curious, world traveling mom of 2 boys. She currently lives in Marrakech, Morocco with her husband and kids. Amanda is the publisher of MarocMama a blog about raising multicultural kids, food, and travel. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.