What is Eid al-Adha and why is it being celebrated?
Eid al-Adha, or the ‘festival of sacrifice’, is a religious ritual for Muslims marking the end of the pilgrimage to Mecca (hajj).
THE RELEVANCE OF THE SHEEP
The sacrificial animal of Eid al-Adha is the sheep.
Why? The feast is in celebration of the obedience of Abraham and his willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael. The story went on that Allah, impressed by Abraham’s fidelity, sent the Angel Gabriel to stay the hand that was about to strike. In Ishmael’s stead, a sheep was sacrificed.
In the feast’s celebration, then, there is a large significance in the slaughter of sheep, which is given a name, fed with leftovers, and basically pampered before this is offered as sacrifice.
It is generally the father who leads the sacrificial slaughter of the sheep during the feast. After the slaughter, the animal is cooked and shared.
There is also a specific order of how the animal’s parts are eaten.
On the day of the slaughter, kebabs made from the liver and lungs and wrapped in caul fat are boiled and then grilled over a fire.
On the second day, the family cuts up the rest of the animal. The head is the most traditional dish and is often served as mechoui, slow-roasted over a fire. In other traditions, men are traditionally in charge of grilling meat over the embers outdoors and women prepare the stewed meat in the kitchen, inside the family home.
A third of the meat is given to the poor and needy.