Thursday, November 17, 2011

Merry Belated Eid

It's that time of year! Time for family, friends, cold weather, cookies, & food. Yes, it's true, it's the "holiday" season over here in Jordan. But, if you're imagining twinkling lights, evergreen trees, sugar cookies, and warm holiday tunes ...well you'd be wrong. Remember people, I live in an Islamic country. You'll find no mythical flying reindeer or fat men in bright red suits over here. No no, I'm talking about a different holiday season.... I'm talking about a little ole holiday called Eid.

You may be thinking, hmmm what is she talking about, that's not even a word. Well, stay with me for a minute and let me explain.

Eid al-Adha (or just Eid, pronounced like Eed) or the "Festival of Sacrifice" is a religious holiday commemorating the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son Ishmael as an act of obedience to God, before God intervened to provide him with a sheep to sacrifice instead. Muslims around the world take 3 days (or more) to celebrate this event by praying, gathering with friends and family, eating lots of cookies filled with pistachios and dates, and.......sacrificing a sheep.

Yes, a sheep. A real living and breathing sheep.

You may think, that's not a big deal, lamb meat is delicious what's so wrong with that? Well, have you ever seen a sheep get slaughtered? Me either...until last week.

I knew what Eid celebrated, but in my young naive American born mind I just figured they'd bring home some sheep meat from the market like normal people. Oh no no, where's the fun in that? Let me paint you a little picture of what actually happened.

I woke up the morning of Eid, brushed my teeth, washed my face, made some tea, and ventured outside to see investigate a very strange noise I kept hearing. To my surprise, I found my host brothers, sisters, and a live sheep tied up chomping on some leaves in our backyard, accompanied by a butcher with 4 very large knives and well, I knew things weren't going to end well.

Yes, they slaughtered a sheep in my backyard. And sorry to be graphic but, I'm talking slit throat, head cut off, skinned, the whole bit. And worst of all .....I watched.

It was horrible. PETA would not have approved, but I viewed it as a cultural experience, so I watched the whole gruesome thing. I've already judged myself for it, so spare the harsh judgments.

Spotted: Sheep head

Mary no longer has a little lamb

I didn't eat any of it, if that makes any of you feel better. But, it is kind a cool Muslim tradition because once all the meat is cut up, it is divided into 3 groups: one part for us, second part is given to family, and the last part is given to the poor. So at least the poor little sheep is helping out others. At least, that's how I viewed it.

I'm pretty sure I'll never be eating lamb meat ever again, but I am actually glad I watched it all. Just another learning experience added to the list.

It's no Christmas season, but it was a relaxing couple of days filled with lots of yummy food!

Sorry to gross you all out, but it was too weird not to post about.


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