Eid: thoughts, teachings, snapshots

“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.

Walking to Eid prayer, Marrakesh Morocco

2-Planting feathers.  An ambitious endeavor.planting feathers

3-Let the feasting begin.  Moroccan tektouka salad, made with roasted red bell peppers and tomato.
Moroccan tektouka salad

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.  Moroccan food on Eid

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.  chocolate chip cookies and Moroccan slipper cookies

6-Last food pic I promise.  Indian carrot pudding (much, much more heavenly than the name connotes).  And Moroccan tea.

gujarella and Moroccan mint 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.

sunlight

8-Just the light.  It almost made me cry, all day, it made the simplest things so beautiful.

Olive orchard, Ourika valley, Morocco

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.candle in moroccan lamp

21 thoughts on “Eid: thoughts, teachings, snapshots

  1. The picture of Amin and his grandfather, and the planting of feathers made me cry. The whole beautiful, spacious and gentle description of Id made me cry. And you are quite the Baker!!! Alhamdulillah. And thank you.

    • A lot of things about Amin make me cry too. He’s such a deep and delicate soul. Last night he asked me with total sincerity and innocence “when you die can I be a teacher in your place?”. I laughed and hugged him.

  2. Abdurrahman says:

    One other thing about the sacrifice of sheep: the sheepskin is then used as a prayer rug. So there you are with your face pressed into the glowing white telling God how much you love Him. And who knows, at that moment, what blessings come to the sheep who gave that place of prayer and what those blessings are?

  3. Wishing you and your family all joy and blessings!
    What a beautiful post.
    Loved the photos.
    I can’t wait to return to Morocco for two weeks in February.

  4. Assalam alaykum Nora,
    Another beautiful post and I like as well the way Mr Abderrahman put that addition,it makes a lot of sense. I think we are coming full circle again.I guess I know how you relate to Mr Abderrahman.I heard of him through a friend of mine more than 14 years ago He said nice things about him.What I can say is we are in a small world and the internet make it smaller.Keep up the nice work.

    • Wa alaykum salam Aziz,
      Thank you for your comment. Yes, you guessed it, Mr Abderrahman is my father! It is a small world, and it’s nice when the internet allows us to have meaningful connections.

  5. Rabia says:

    Thanks for this – really gives a feeling of Morocco and Eid – another world! It’s amazing how often the light on Eid is amazing though – even here in the grey UK – we had a beautiful sunny serene day this year – the kind where you just know it’s Eid.

  6. Iris says:

    SALAM!
    Could you PLEASE be so kind an give me the recept for those dulcet Moroccan “slipper” cookies? I’ve been searching for it for a long time, and I’m yearning to bake them myself and to offer these cookies to my family and friends.
    Chokran! Best wishes
    Iris

    • Iris: certainly. I was surprised myself at how easy it was.
      For the filling: 500 grams of peanuts, roasted + 100 grams of powdered sugar. Mix in the food processor (moulinette) until it resembles peanut butter.
      For the dough: 250 grams of flour + a pinch of salt + 200 grams of butter. Mix into a smooth dough and chill for an hour.
      Then you flatten out part of the dough, place a long log of the peanut mixture, and roll the dough over till you have a long log with peanuts in the middle and dough on the outside. You then cut the cookies, diagonally. Place them on a baking sheet with parchment paper and cook about 15 minutes.

      Let me know if these directions are clear. If not I have some pictures too could help. Good luck and happy baking!
      Nora.

  7. Nosheen says:

    Jazaki Allahu Khair sister Nora for sharing the Moroccan cookies recipe! When I read your description of the cookies and saw the picture, I thought that I have to ask you for the recipe because they sound delicious! But when I scrolled down, Alhamdulillah somebody had already asked and you have posted the recipe. Shukran jazeelan!🙂 I hope to make them soon Insha’Allah.

    Fi Amanillah,

    Nosheen

  8. This post about Eid was as good as the one you recently put up about Ramadan. I love the photos in this one.

    By the way, would “Gaajar ka Halwa” be a more exotic name for your Indian carrot pudding? That is the name that is used in Urdu/Hindi. Or you can just call it Carrot Halwa in English.

    • Yes, that’s the name I’ve always heard my Pakistani friends call it, but I didn’t dare try to spell it (thought it was all one word, but now I can make out the word “halwa” which is also Arabic for sweet). Thank you for enlightening me.

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