Aid Kbir: Sacrifice of the Sheep

aid moubarak said! [loosely translated to "happy holiday"] & happy martin luther king, jr. day!

Aid Kbir 2006, family with sheepI realize that Aid Kbir1 [Big Feast, Slaughter/Sacrifice of the Sheep] is the major religious holiday/event for Muslims; however, the wholesale slaughter of domestic animals is an event that I could neither fully experience, nor participate, with my host-family; however, I can appreciate the importance of the holy-day for Moslims. The neighborhood sheep and goats knew what was going to happen (my host-family bought our sheep a week prior) to them; they were bleating incessantly leading to the morning of January 11, 2006.

Thank goodness I cannot communicate with animals (it's a lie if heard otherwise); if you're a domestic animal, then Aid Kbir is a bad time for you2. I have difficulty describing the ritualistic sacrificing of the sheep; the images do a better job than I ever will. I doubt if PETA would ever mount a campaign to end such a traditional activity.

Aid Kbir 2006Not sure how, but the caid [local authority] found me early in the week when I had not told anyone where I was going; he found me at the souk [weekly outdoor market]. We walked around and talked for a bit, then he asked me to come see him at his office when I was done browsing; I thought I was in big trouble. On the contrary, he just wanted to know how I was adjusting and to wish me a good Aid Kbir. He says to come see him if I ever have any trouble or need anything; it's nice that he speaks perfect English.

Here's something priceless: When I say I'm from California, I hear most Moroccans exclaim, "Lots of nice B!TCHES there!" After a short conversation, and with some context, I realize they are saying "BEACHES". The last time I misheard this came from a police man welcoming me to the station; I was on my way to meet the caid.

Timeline Snapshot: First Aid Kbir in Morocco, January 11, 2006
Fellow Peace Corps Volunteers and I had conversation on the experience over text messaging5, edited for clarity (actual names have been changed/withheld for obvious reasons, re: safety/security):

The sacrificing begins ...
Aid Kbir 2006, sacrificing of the sheepAid Kbir 2006, sacrificing of the sheepAid Kbir 2006, sacrificing of the sheep

... steaming blood is pushed down the drain to flow in the streets below ...
Aid Kbir 2006, sacrificing of the sheepAid Kbir 2006, sacrificing of the sheepAid Kbir 2006, sacrificing of the sheep

... scorching & de-horning the head ...
Aid Kbir 2006, scorching & de-horning sheepAid Kbir 2006, scorching & de-horning sheep

... skinning the carcass ...
Aid Kbir 2006, skinning the sheepAid Kbir 2006, skinning the sheepAid Kbir 2006, skinning the sheepAid Kbir 2006, skinning the sheep

... disemboweling the carcass ...
Aid Kbir 2006, disemboweling the sheepAid Kbir 2006, disemboweling the sheepAid Kbir 2006, disemboweling the sheepAid Kbir 2006, disemboweling the sheep

... carcass ready for the feast.
Aid Kbir 2006, ready for feast

nesting storks
nesting storksnesting storks
Going for a walk in the country-side, I came upon a flock (or is it colony?) of nesting storks. These birds are huge, and getting too close to the nest ruffled their feathers. After taking a few pictures, I high-tailed it out of the area before the start of the aerial bombardments.

rainbow spiderrainbow spider
Included in this animal-focused post are the requested photoshopped spiders to compliment the other photoshopped spiders; the task of palette color-shift is not difficult, just time consuming.

ethereal box of randomness
contact established
i've decided to use the permanent/personal web address for blogging.
1. According to the faith (Abraham sacrificing sheep instead of son Issac), Muslims are expected to sacrifice a sheep in the name of Allah; however, families sacrifice livestock according to what they can afford, ranging from chickens and rabbits to sheep and goats. The whole event is ritualistic, with blessed dagger, prayer, etc. Aid Kbir (and Ramadan) moves up 13 days every year; thus, operating on the Gregorian calendar puts two Aid Kbir in 2006. Morocco, as with all Moslim countries, uses both the Gregorian and Islamic calendars.
2. Just as if you are a turkey, then you probably do not want to get an invitation to Thanksgiving Dinner in the U.S.A. (unless it's to the Whitehouse).
3. Caught in the "excitement," did not realize the sacrificing of the sheep blocked the door/stairs; threw-up twice. when I was able to get down, I went to bed feeling ill (not sure when I stopped trembling).
4. I sense that many Moroccans have a fetish for Francis Bacon meat imageries.
5. Text messaging via phone is the most efficient way for Peace Corps Volunteers to communicate with each other and with the staff. Unfortunately, not all volunteer sites have mobile reseau [signal]; volunteers at these sites must travel for their telecommunications needs. The cost to text message is reasonable; thus, the only draw back on depending on the government-run telecommunications infrastructure is signal strength.

tags: ...
another point of view ...

Anonymous Anonymous

wow, what an incredible post. Very interesting, so the sacrifice is to Allah representing the Abraham/Issac event, and not the same meaning that the old testament Jewish had when they sacrificed for atonement?

Are you losing weight there?

Blogger Nam LaMore

PERI: thank you so much for the mention on your blog - i appreciate it. what more, i appreciate the posting of a recipe that i can try in my moroccan kitchen (re: ingredients).

the whole sacrificing thing is about allah - i still don't get it; sure, they can act out the parts, but not sure if it's necessary to actually kill the poor thing. anyhow, we've been eating meat at every meal. i have the smell of meat all over me. heck, the meat smell is so over-powering and permeating that i'm beginning to think this is how the world smells. i can't remember when it didn't smell this way!

yeah, am loosing weight. lots of it - lost about 15lbs now. but that's not from not eating or getting stomach virus. rather, it's from all the walking/biking i do to stay warm .. you've heard it once and you'll hear it again from me: when it's cold inside, it's COLDER outside.

Blogger mquest

B!TCHES and BEACHES- I love california and our reputation.

I has hopeing the sheep would make it.

Blogger Nam LaMore

MQUEST: i'm sure it's not tough to find both in southern calif :-)

the sheep NEVER makes it .. oh, it was such a wild experience.

Blogger junoon

the sacrifice is representing the abraham/ismael event. it's all the same story but swich isaac and ismael. isaac is supposed to be the jews ancestor and ismael the arabs one... so in islam the one who had to be sacrified is ismael.

your blog is just amazing Nam... i've been reading it for a while, but it's my first comment. i am not that confident about my english skills...

speak up!

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