In recent years, the sustainability and ethics of a traditional celebration like Eid have come into question. Why are they wrong?
Eid al Adha, more commonly known as Eid or Eid al Kabir in Morocco, is the latter of two Islamic holidays celebrated each year. This year, the celebration takes place from the 19th to the 23rd of July. It is an ancient celebration which represents ideas of togetherness, equality, gratitude and tradition.
Origin and Meaning
Eid is also known as the Feast of the Sacrifice. In which, the body of a goat, sheep, cow or camel is sacrificed in commemoration of Prophet Abraham’s sacrifice of his son, Ishmael.
The importance of Eid is in being together, so unlike Christmas, which has become a breeding ground of over-consumption, it is a celebration which produces little waste, and places value on sharing and giving.
- The meat sacrificed for the feast is in no way wasted. Each part of the animal, including organ meat, is eaten, and the meat is often preserved to be eaten for weeks after the festival.
- Typically, one third of the meat is consumed by the family or extended family members offering the sacrifice, while the rest goes to the poor, the needy or charities, whom do not usually have access to meat.
- Gifts aren’t generally bought for children and there is little decoration on display like at Christmas, instead, children receive money to buy clothes they need or to keep as savings.
What does it mean to us?
The Arabic word عيد (ʿīd) means ‘festival’, ‘celebration’, ‘feast day’, or ‘holiday’, but it also implies an element of tradition. To celebrate Eid is also “to go back, to rescind, to accrue, to be accustomed, habits, to repeat, to be experienced”.
Nadia Hamila, the founder and CEO of Amboora of Moroccan and Tunisian heritage, has long advocated for not reinventing the wheel, but finding lost traditions and re-imagining them for our time. For example, our spices are based on family recipes passed down through generations but can now be used to create new dishes, or to add some spice to classic ones.
Eid has always been sustainable and ethical, but in recent years after the rise of veganism, all meat eating has seemed to be condemned. I agree with much of this conclusion, in terms of mass consumption, but the doctrines of ancient festivals like Eid have a meaning completely opposite to that of excess. The meat sacrificed at the feast is respected, never wasted.