“These are days for eating, drinking and remembering God”. That is a description of Eid, which we celebrated this past week. And that sums it up pretty well.
Eid comes as the celebration marking the end of each year’s pilgrimage season.
Some of my favorite things about Eid are…
…thinking about those who have made the pilgrimage, their stories, their light filled faces as they return. Thinking about the year that my husband made that journey, as I stayed home 7 months pregnant with Karima. That is a story worth its own blog post.
…Eid prayer, a special communal prayer held outdoors. Normally we go to the one on the road to Ourika, with tens of thousands of people. This year we had the good fortune to be out in the countryside, where a gathering of the entire community means a couple hundred people. As we arrived and settled onto the straw mats, we were greeted by the most peaceful singing “dear Lord, make us among the thankful”.
…the beautiful teachings related to the slaughter of the Eid sheep. As part of the celebration, it’s traditional to slaughter a sheep (or goat, cow or camel), feeding family, friends and giving away a third to charity . It’s a very real experience, that puts you face to face with your own meat-eating. Certainly for me there is a heaviness associated with it. I’d much rather just grab some meat at the store, but as Barbara Kingsolver put it, you can’t run away on harvest day. The Islamic teaching is to accompany the animal through the door of death in the best possible way. That is, to speak softly and soothingly to it, to not show it the knife, to not slaughter it in the same place as another animal so that it won’t smell or see blood, to use a well sharpened knife and to make the slaughter itself as quick as possible, and finally to utter a prayer a the moment of death. One of two things will happen if you witness or participate in this event, either you will become a vegetarian, or you will come away with more gravitas, a much deeper awareness of the responsibility we have as meat eaters. Where does our meat come from? How was the animal raised? How was it killed? The answers to these questions are so directly relevant to our own humanity.
…family time, food time. See pictures below. What I love about this set of pictures is the light, notice the light.
1-On the way to Eid prayer. My son and my father.
2-Planting feathers. An ambitious endeavor.
3-Let the feasting begin. Moroccan tektouka salad, made with roasted red bell peppers and tomato.
4-My plate. Spinach artichoke dip, the famous liver brochettes of the first day (meat needs to wait till day 2 to taste better), guacamole, broccoli (a treat in Morocco, trust me on this), and tektouka. I didn’t actually eat the liver brochettes, sorry, not a fan. But my kids love them, and broccoli too, contrary to the common kid stereotypes.
5-This is my identity expressed via the medium of cookies. One one hand, the all American fave, chocolate chip (chip here is singular). On the other hand, Moroccan “slipper” cookies (shaped like a belgha), which are, incidentally, filled with peanut butter. I had an “I am baker, hear me roar” moment when I baked these and they actually came out looking and tasting as good as store bought. I always thought Moroccan cookies were well beyond my scope.
6-Last food pic I promise. Indian carrot pudding (much, much more heavenly than the name connotes). And Moroccan tea.
7-My daughter is wearing a dress that my sister, and later I, both wore as girls. I think it was used to begin with.
8-Just the light. It almost made me cry, all day, it made the simplest things so beautiful.
9-That night we stayed in one of the few houses in the area still without electricity. Candle light is also so peaceful and lovely.