Edit Blog Post
Published: January 25th 2005
This weekend was the big holiday: Aid Al-Kebir, La Grande Fete, The Big Celebration. All last week the streets were full of bleeting sheep, and all last weekend they smelled of roasting sheep-meat.
Aid Al-Kebir is Islam's biggest holiday. I think I mistakenly reported in a previous entry that the party after Ramadaan was the biggest, but I was wrong. For the holiday, to honor Abraham's sacrifice of his son Isaac to show his faith in god, every family buys a live sheep and kills it and eats the meat all weekend. Issac was spared the knife by god who replaced him with a sheep at the last moment, but the sheep, like the several million sheep sacrificed in Morocco on Friday, knew no such mercy.
I celebrated with Abd Al-Ali (AKA Abdul) and his family and I have to say it was quite the event. It started, of course, at the livestock market on Thursday. The place was packed shoulder to shoulder with eager shoppers and less-than-eager-sheep who where poked and proded and lifted into hay trucks for the ride back to the city. We picked a juicy ram with nice thick legs and a good hearty b-a-a-a-a and rode home with him crammed into a hay truck with several dozen Moroccans and their sheep.
Tied to the wall in Abdul's kitchen, Moosayood, as we named him, knew what was coming, but I think he accepted his fate with diginity. He did, after all, have a name and that was more than most sheep die with.
Friday morning, after Abdul and I had our ritual baths at the local hammaam, the butcher made his rounds through the medina and came to Abdul's home, and after a brief Koranic recitation, wrestled Moosayood to the floor in the kitchen, and with two quick strokes had "couper la gorge" of our four-legged friend.
After that, it was four days of "Howlee L'theeth" (delicious sheep). Friday night it was heart and liver. Saturday morning, sheep brains, jowels and tongue. Saturday: sheep meat brochettes and kidneys. Sunday was ram-meat tajine with potatoes, olives and garbonzo beans. Monday we ate stewed leg or ram, and I believe tonight there's a still a bit left depsite the fact that Moosayood fed a family of eight for three meals a day for 4 days straight.
I think tomorrow we're going to take the skin to the tannery to be dyed and made into slippers and a hat and and wallet, and maybe I'll have the wool turned into a jalaba or some wooly socks and mittens.
All in all it was a highly succesful and rewarding holiday. In exchange for one plump sheep, I got a 4 day window into hectic traditional Moroccan family life and made some new friends. We ate twelve incredable sheep-meat meals (ok some of them were just sheep-organ meals), and I have one more travel tale to shock and amaze all who will listen when I come back from my voyage.
Tot: 0.04s; Tpl: 0.014s; cc: 9; qc: 48; dbt: 0.011s; 1; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb