What is Eid al Adha?

What is Eid al Adha?

You've likely heard of Eid, but what exactly does the celebration entail? Why does it hold such profound significance for so many around the globe? Eid al-Adha, affectionately known as the 'Feast of the Sacrifice', is a pivotal annual Islamic holiday, celebrated fervently by over two billion people worldwide. In Morocco, it's also known as Eid al Kabir, highlighting its grandeur and importance within the cultural tapestry of the country. It can be compared to Christmas festivities.

At the heart of Eid al-Adha lies the commemoration of Prophet Abraham's unwavering faith, demonstrated through his willingness to sacrifice his son, Ishmael, in obedience to Allah's command. Mirroring Abraham's devotion, the festival is marked by the sacrificial slaughtering of an animal, such as a goat, sheep, cow, or camel. This act of sacrifice is not merely symbolic; it's a profound gesture of faith, devotion, and remembrance.

Historical Context and Significance Eid al-Adha's origins are deeply rooted in Islamic tradition, recounting the tale of Abraham's test of faith. This story, shared among several religions, underlines the universal themes of devotion, sacrifice, and divine mercy. The festival's significance transcends time, reminding the faithful of the virtues of obedience and sacrifice.

Cultural Variations From Morocco to Malaysia, Eid al-Adha is celebrated with unique local customs that enrich the global Islamic tapestry. In Morocco, the day is filled with the aroma of special dishes being prepared, streets buzzing with excitement, and the sounds of greetings and prayers. Each country adds its flavour to the celebration, making Eid a mosaic of cultural expressions.

Personal Stories Having spent many Eids in Morocco, Tunisia, and the UK, I've experienced first-hand the universal joy and community spirit that Eid brings, transcending borders and cultures. Whether waking early to join my father in preparations or rallying with my cousins for a day of collective cooking and celebration, Eid has always been a family affair. These personal experiences highlight the communal heart of Eid, where preparation and celebration are interwoven with the threads of family and community bonds.

Practical Tips for Celebration For those new to celebrating Eid or seeking to enrich their experience, consider embracing the communal spirit by participating in local events or volunteering for charitable causes. Decorate your home to reflect the festive mood, and don't forget to reach out to neighbours and friends, sharing the joys and blessings of the day. An Eid Mubarak or Happy Eid will go a long way in greeting your friends.

On the Day

  • During the morning of Eid al-Adha, a special prayer called Salat al-Eid is recited in honour of the festival, ahead of the Dhuhr prayer at noon.
  • Muslims traditionally dress in fine clothes in celebration of Eid al-Adha, in addition to exchanging gifts for children.

Charitable Practices A cornerstone of Eid al-Adha is the act of sharing. The meat from the sacrifice is divided into three parts: one for the family, one for friends and neighbours, and one for the less fortunate. This tradition embodies the essence of community and generosity, ensuring that no one is left out of the celebration.

Recipes and Food Traditions Food plays a central role in Eid celebrations. In Morocco, dishes such as lamb tagine, couscous, and pastries filled with almonds and orange blossom water adorn the festive table. Each bite is a testament to the rich culinary traditions that Eid al-Adha brings to life.

Fashion and Dress Dressing in one's finest clothes is a cherished Eid tradition, symbolising purity and joy. In Morocco, you might see a dazzling array of caftans and djellabas, their colours and fabrics reflecting the vibrancy of the occasion. This practice is a beautiful expression of identity and celebration, adding to the day's festive atmosphere.

Eid al-Adha is more than a religious observance; it's a time for community, reflection, and joy. It's a moment when the faithful come together, bridging distances and differences, to share in the universal values of generosity, compassion, and devotion. Whether in the bustling streets of Marrakech or the quiet neighbourhoods of the UK, Eid al-Adha remains a time of togetherness, reflection, and celebration.

The Food: Eid al-Adha is known as “Big Festival”, where the food eaten during the festival is predominantly savoury. By contrast, Eid al-Fitr is called “sweet Eid”. However, there are some dishes eaten for both festivals. For example, Moroccan pastries called Ka’ab. They are made using ingredients including almonds and fragrant orange blossom and served in a crescent shape - delicious!

The main star of the show is the lamb.  Yes a lamb is sacrificed on the day which is eaten in a particular order in Morocco.  First, is mechoui and the BBQ is setup,  Boulfaf which are the liver and kidneys are grilled and the other offal is prepared for dishes where Alaoua/Tkalia are made in a small stew.  Nothing goes to waste and a dish is made for each part.  This is special because some families are able to have dishes which they wouldn't necessary be able to at other times of the year. After the brains are made in a tagine with a tomato sauce along with steamed or roasted head. Then main tagines are made such as Mrouzia. 

The main meat isn't ready to eat on the first day and needs to rest whilst the organs are the first to go off so need to be eaten as soon as possible. 

Eid is a special time for me in addition to carrying out the obligatory activities but I just enjoy occasions bring the family together, eating delicious food and getting dressed in beautiful colourful clothes. I enjoy cooking for my family and seeing everyone enjoying themselves and having a good time!