Thursday, December 18, 2008

Eye-ed Moo-bar-ack sigh-eed

My semester abroad came to end a week early because of a religious holiday called the Eid (pronounced eye-ed). Though my business teacher swore that the Islamic calendar didn’t affect education or economics in the Arab world (HA!), all schools, as well as the majority of local businesses, were closed for about a week for the Eid celebration (give or take some days depending on the institution). So what does this glorious school ending holiday entail? Well the Eid is in remembrance for the time when Abraham was so faithful to God that he was willing to sacrifice his only son at God’s command. According to the Old Testament, God stopped Abraham at the last minute, and praised him for his faithfulness, and then had him sacrifice a sheep instead. The Quranic version varies a little, but regardless, the celebration is a symbol for this act. So what does a festival entail that glorifies an ancient sacrifice? Well a modern day sacrifice of course! Each year, every family must buy a sheep, slaughter it, skin it, and then cook it. My family was no different, so my final week in Rabat was spent participating in the Eid. These pictures aren’t for the faint of heart, so be warned!

Though I’m a bit torn on whether this event was a barbaric display of questionable lingering tradition, the holiday, over all, was magnificent. Families spent the day together cooking and preparing, laughing and indulging, and finally, digesting and relaxing. It was kind of like Thanksgiving, but instead of one day of gorging and sleeping, the gluttony lasted for a week! Though this semester has been a difficult one, being part of this festival was a beautiful way to end my time abroad. I got to spend quality time with my host family, as well as share an Eid meal with all my friends and teachers from school. Though some of the situations seem bizarre, being able to spend Ramadan and Eid in the Arab world opened my eyes to the majesty of the religion. These holidays are such amazing spectacles, and not only do they portray a divine faith, but also how truly linked and communal the Arab world is. I'm very thankful to have been a part of both, and I hope I can open some eyes about what Islam really is, regardless of what the media portrays.
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