Eid al-Adha: The Festival of Sacrifice

The evening of Thursday, July 30th will mark the start of the Islamic holiday, Eid al-Adha, which is also known as the Festival of Sacrifice.  This celebration commemorates Abraham’s unwavering trust and faith in God. According to the Koran, Abraham believed in God so much when it was requested, he was willing to sacrifice his son. God was pleased with Abraham’s unfaltering faith and provided Abraham with a sheep to sacrifice instead.  

Over the course of four days, Muslims will celebrate this holiday by eating a lot of red meat. Eid al-Adha also signifies the end of Ramadan (a month-long fast).

A few facts about Eid al-Adha from FoodRepublic.com:

  • Eid al-Adha occurs at the end of an annual pilgrimage known as the Hajj, which is a voyage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
  • This holiday is a time of celebration when everyone dresses in their finest clothes and dines together.  Due to the pandemic, many video calls and virtual Zoom dinners will take place instead of meeting in person.
  • Meat markets and other locations distribute halal meat (cow, goat, or sheep) to their neighbors and the poor.
  • The meal preparation is especially important on this holiday.  The red meat is divided into three parts.  Of those three parts, the family keeps some, neighbors and friends receive another part, and finally the last part of the meat is given to those less fortunate.
  • In some countries, this holiday is commemorated with sacrificing a sheep, goat, or cow. This is called Udiyyah, which is “the sacrificed” in Arabic. 
  • Throughout the four days, families dine on various parts of the red meat.  For example, for breakfast a family can eat fried liver, and then the other parts of the animal for lunch and dinner.

The preparation of the meat varies from country to country.  Within many Islamic countries, families usually braise the meat and season it with garlic, cumin, and onion over a slow fire.  Some may use the meat inside of a spicy rice dish known as, Biryani, or they might just make a kebab where they grill the meat with a skewer and vegetables.

Photo courtesy of Zarthwork via Freepik.com