This Wednesday was Eid, a Muslim holiday where each family has to sacrifice an animal in order to honor Abraham in his willingness to sacrifice his son. Depending on the country or area, people sacrifice different animals. Here in Morocco, sheep are the most common.
Two weeks before Eid, outdoor animal markets started popping up outside of huge supermarkets. One week before Eid, the first “baaaaaah’s” were heard around the neighborhood. The Saturday before Eid, our host mom went to Kenitra with her brother and came back with a huge sheep. It was dragged by the horns up a flight of stairs and into a little room with no roof in the middle of the apartment building. On the Monday before Eid there were nine sheep in that room, and the smell of sheep was overpowering throughout our whole apartment.
The day of Eid, there was a different sense about the day, an almost somber preset to what was about to happen. The call to prayer was a 30min long song instead of a fairly short series of “Allah Akbar.” When we left the apartment the morning Eid prayers had just ended, so hundreds of people dressed in jelaba’s and carrying prayer masks were heading back to their homes. Everyone was in good spirit and greeting each other. We got in the car and drove to our cousin’s house, listening to music from Fez on the way. When we arrived at their house we had breakfast. It was pretty extravagant, due to the holiday. There were cookies, Moroccan crepes, different kinds of bread, various kinds of spreads, and of course mint tea. We waited for the King to sacrifice his sheep and then immediately raced out to sacrifice our own.
There were four sheep, one for each family. The butcher sacrificed two, our host dad sacrificed one, and our host cousin sacrificed another. He’s 15 and it was his first sheep, so everyone was cheering and celebrating for him. After the sheep were gorged, the butcher hung them up and skinned them. Then he slit them down the underbelly and pulled out all the insides. My host mom dropped a dollop of henna in every womans’ hand and rubbed it all over both hands like a mask. After it was well rubbed, you washed it off and your hands were nice and soft.
After all the sheep were finished, I feel asleep on the couch. I had been sick the day before, and still had a fever, so sleep was imperative. I was woken up to a lunch of liver kebabs wrapped in stomach lining, fried intestines and a stew with all sorts of innards I just didn’t ask about. I fell asleep again until around 5 when I went up to the roof with my host sister to take pictures. Around 9 we ate dinner, same innards stew, and went home.
The next day we returned to our cousin’s house once more for the entire day and just relaxed the entire time. There wasn’t much to do, and everyone was just so tired because the holiday is extremely exhausting for everyone. The woman work all day to clean everything out, as well as do all the cooking. We ate the head that day. We had the cheeks, I think I had a bite of eye socket, and I have no idea what else. I think it’s honestly best just not to ask right now. All I can say though is that my stomach was not okay with it the next day.
If you want to see pictures of my Eid adventures there is a link on the photo’s tab, but don’t look it you’re not okay with blood!