The fresh smell of henna, the mouth-watering aroma of sawaiyan, the sky-scraping heels among branded clothes, and a family who showers you with money and gifts. How much better can a day get? Oh, and let’s not forget about the sacrifice of goats, or for others, sheep and cows. As an eight year old child, I used to watch wide-eyed as my family had goats slaughtered, goats with which I had developed a firm connection. (Insert all crying face emojis.) They had become my closest friends, at least, more so than Hussein who would steal my parhatas every lunch, and ask the teacher to assist him to the washroom. Wasn’t he old enough to use the washroom himself? Even the goats could manage a task as miniscule as that, although they left their droppings in an arbitrary fashion across my grandfather’s hawali. Fast-forward to grade two, which was indeed a rough year. The boys had gotten denser, and I only conversed with goats, despite the fact that I had well over fifty cousins. On Eid, I repeatedly asked my mother to spare my favorite goat, white with miniature spots decorating its smooth surface. I told her that I’d make sure it doesn’t ‘poo’ anymore. As inane as that sounds, my cousin was slightly more ridiculous, building forts with their droppings, and coming close to eating a couple. Yuck!
As expected, my wish failed to come true. Tears blurred my vision, and the goat’s briny taste felt unusual against my lips. Like the dramatic child I was, partly from binge watching Pakistani dramas, I ran around in circles shattering eardrums, creating an episode of my own. However, as rapidly as the tears came, they were gone when my uncle handed me five hundred rupees, and a plate of chicken biryani. Not only was my love for biryani solidified that day, but I developed an entirely new perspective on Eid. Did you know that there is more to Eid than biryani and eidi? Neither did I, and I was in for a surprise.
Eid al-Adha refers to ‘Feast of the Sacrifice,’ or the Greater Eid. Islamic scripture, or the Quran, tells us of a time when through a vision, Allah commanded Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his most precious belonging as a test to determine his loyalty. Ibrahim thought long and hard about this task, and came to the conclusion that his son, Ishmael, was in fact whom he must sacrifice. While Ibrahim was in the act of sacrificing his son, Angel Gabriel was sent by Allah to replace his son with a ram. How magical! Even in the present, Muslims all around the world will sacrifice animals in honor of this historic and memorable event that demonstrated the extent of Ibrahim’s devotion to Allah.
On Eid al-Adha, we divide the meat into three parts: one for our relatives and friends, another to be distributed among the poor, and the last part for our immediate family. Blessing goes to those who give to charities, who begin their day with morning prayers, and to those who have embarked on the Hajj, the fifth pillar of Islam.
Another amazing part of Eid? You have four whole days to visit different relatives’ houses, collect eidi, and eat a myriad of home-made food.
Although it’s almost Eid, I’m still not completely sure when it is. August 31? September 1? How frustrating, but we’ve got a larger problem on our hands: finding the perfect “Wow!” outfit.
I’m still in search for a last minute outfit, are you? Perhaps you’ve had yours for ages.
Eid Mubarak! Don’t eat too much, I know I won’t…I might…I will…I definitely will. Biryani, here I come!