How Do You Know That Big Eid Is Coming?

Eid Al Adha animal sacrifice

Eid Al Adha, also called Big Eid and the Feast of the Sacrifice, is an important Islamic holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide to honor the willingness of the prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his first-born son as an act of submission to God’s command.

Everyone knows the story: God jumped in with a last-minute substitution and a hapless ram took the hit for young Ishmael (it was Abraham and his son Isaac for the Jews), who went on to enjoy a long life writ large in the Qur’an and the Torah and the Bible.

It’s my third year in Jordan and I’m starting to think like a Bedouin, relying less on clocks and calendars and more on senses and sight. So, formal proclamations aside, how do I know Big Eid’s a-coming?

Fluffy herds of sheep and goats flanking the airport highway are the first giveaway. In capitol city Amman, urban shepherds lead animals to every patch of green chasing last-minute fatten-up opportunities.

Flocks swell in gypsy compounds.

Cartoon rams appear on billboards, promoting Tkiyet Um Ali, the Jordanian NGO that provides, among other services, holiday meat to the kingdom’s underprivileged.  The message is clear – it’s the Feast of the Sacrifice, four-legged food products beware!

(Read here about Green Prophet’s journey to an Eid sacrifice in Jaffa, Israel)

Animal sacrifice is at the core of Big Eid festivities, with some estimates projecting that as many as 100 million animals will be slaughtered over two days.  For context, over 45 million turkeys are killed for America’s Thanksgiving feast. Secular meat eaters wreak comparable animal havoc.

The festival of Eid Al Adha also marks the end of the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.

Green Prophet will cover the end of all those animals in another story.

Image of sheep readied for slaughter from Shutterstock

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