L’Aïd-el-Kébir, also known as Eid al-Adha, meaning” the Festival of Sacrifice”, is a Muslim holiday, celebrated the day after Arafa, in which Muslim pilgrims perform essential rituals of Hajj.
Eid al-Adhaalso commiserates the story of Abraham (Ibrahim) and his willingness to sacrifice his eldest son Ishmael (known as Isma’el in Arabic) at God’s command. To celebrate Abraham’s (Ibrahim)devotion, Muslims sacrifice a sheep, cow, or camel and share the meat with family, friends, and the poor.
Eidal-Adha is mostly a family celebration.The whole family takes their best clothes for the occasion. After prayer, people slaughter and clean their cattle in their own homes. Then they prepare a lunch with the sacrificed meat, they exchange gifts or visit family members, friends, or neighbors.
Traditionally, men slaughter cattle during Eid al-Adha, while women clean and prepare the meat. Within households, fathers or hired butchers are expected to assume the honor. Sons of households are expected to learn the tradition and pass it on the next generation. However, the responsibility can be difficult to take on.
Mouhamed Olkalaa, a 19-years-old Ouarzazate resident has been slaughtering sheep for two years. Olkalaa learned from his father, who he has admired and learned from,until he began taking his father place.
‘’This Eid al-Adha will be the first year for me and I will take over my father responsibilities. He will now assist in cleaning our cattle and Slicer’’ said Mouhamed.
However, this experience does not come easy to other male youth in Ouarzazate. Another resident, 21-years-old,MouhamedAitLhaj remarked, “For me, it’s so hard to slaughter because it’s an important responsibility. Because sometimes when you slaughter, the sheep can run away from you! So what are you going to do?”
AitLhaj hopes to be able to perform the act for his family in the future, after watching other male family members perform the slaughtering.
HichamOuhmad, 20-years-old, has a different take on his role during Eid al-Adha. He believes that it is the right of his father to perform a slaughtering. Ouhmad stated, “My father is the one who is responsible for the sheep and he is the only one who can slaughter him in my house.” Ouhmad also observed that younger males who are allowed the honor of slaughtering cattle do not know how to properly slaughter an animal. He has seen some boys simply use a knife to cut at the cattle until the pass away.
“It’s like they are torturing the sheep. Slaughtering isn’t that way. In our religion, we have to respect the rules of slaughtering in order for the sheep to be Halal. If no one respects religion, just anyone can slaughter. We need to learn and be ready for it.”Said Hicham.