In recent years, the sustainability and ethical dimensions of traditional celebrations like Eid al Adha have sparked lively debates. Some critics question the festival's practices, yet a closer examination reveals a celebration deeply rooted in sustainability, togetherness, and ethical considerations.
Eid al Adha, affectionately known as Eid or Eid al Kabir in Morocco, is the latter of two Islamic holidays celebrated annually. This ancient festival embodies ideas of unity, equality, gratitude, and tradition. Its origins and meanings stretch back centuries, offering a poignant reminder of the importance of community and shared values.
At the heart of Eid is the Feast of the Sacrifice, a commemoration of Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael, a testament to his faith. Unlike the commercialised frenzy often seen during Christmas, Eid's focus is on minimal waste and the value of sharing and giving. The practice of Qurbani, where a goat, sheep, cow, or camel is sacrificed, is a profound exercise in mindfulness and respect for life. Every part of the animal is used, ensuring nothing is wasted. The meat is distributed in thirds: to the family, to friends and neighbours, and crucially, to those less fortunate, ensuring the wider community benefits from this act of faith.
Moreover, Eid's sustainability credentials are evident in its approach to consumption. Unlike the gift-giving extravaganzas of other holidays, Eid focuses on practical and meaningful exchanges. Children often receive money, encouraging savings or the purchase of necessities, rather than indulging in fleeting desires. This practice fosters a sense of responsibility and thoughtfulness from a young age. Cards are rarely exchanged and decorations were not existant as a child however are becoming a little more popular these days.
The festival's ethos is further enriched by its commitment to bringing people together. Nadia Hamila, founder and CEO of Amboora, with Moroccan and Tunisian heritage, reflects on Eid as a time for rediscovering lost traditions and reimagining them for our era. She notes how Amboora's spices, inspired by family recipes passed through generations, symbolise the blending of tradition with innovation, adding new flavours to classic dishes or creating entirely new culinary experiences.
Eid challenges the modern narrative around meat consumption and environmental impact. While veganism and vegetarianism have risen in popularity, criticising all forms of meat eating, Eid's practices are a testament to responsible and ethical consumption. The festival respects the life taken, with the meat from the sacrifice treated with the utmost reverence, never seen as just another commodity.
As we navigate the complexities of modern life, Eid al Adha stands as a beacon of sustainable and ethical celebration. Its principles of community support, mindful consumption, and the sharing of blessings with those less fortunate offer lessons that resonate far beyond the Muslim community. Eid's enduring practices remind us that true sustainability involves more than just environmental considerations; it encompasses a holistic approach to life, where gratitude, generosity, and ethical consciousness guide our actions.
In celebrating Eid, we are invited to reflect on our own practices and how we can contribute to a more sustainable, equitable world. Eid Mubarak to all – may this festival bring joy, reflection, and a renewed commitment to living in harmony with the world around us.
There is always room for improvements and together we continue to be mindful of our consumption.