Eid al-Adha Holiday in Djibouti
Eid al-Adha, also known as the Festival of Sacrifice, is a significant religious holiday celebrated in Djibouti. This Islamic holiday commemorates the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) to obey Allah's command and sacrifice his son, which is a story shared by the three Abrahamic religions - Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. In Djibouti, the holiday is locally known as Tabaski or Eid el-Kebir.
Eid al-Adha falls on the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah, the twelfth and final month of the Islamic lunar calendar. The exact date varies every year due to the Islamic calendar being based on the lunar cycle, with the holiday shifting approximately 11 days earlier each year in the Gregorian calendar. The celebration lasts for three days, and its timing is determined by the sighting of the new moon.
The history of Eid al-Adha in Djibouti dates back to the arrival of Islam in the region. Djibouti, situated at the Horn of Africa, has been influenced by Islamic culture since the 7th century when Arab traders and missionaries introduced the religion to the region. Over time, Islam became the predominant faith in Djibouti, and the celebration of Eid al-Adha became an integral part of the country's religious and cultural identity.
National customs for Eid al-Adha in Djibouti
Eid al-Adha is a public holiday in Djibouti, and most businesses and schools are closed during the celebration. The day starts with special prayers at mosques, where men and women gather to offer their gratitude and devotion to Allah. The prayers are usually followed by a sermon emphasizing the importance of sacrifice, charity, and community.
One of the key aspects of Eid al-Adha in Djibouti is the act of animal sacrifice, symbolizing Ibrahim's willingness to obey Allah's command. Families with financial means purchase a goat, sheep, or cow to be slaughtered, with one-third of the meat distributed to the poor and needy, one-third shared with friends and neighbors, and the remaining portion kept for the family's consumption.
During the holiday, Djiboutian families come together to share festive meals, visit friends and relatives, and exchange gifts. Traditional Djiboutian dishes such as skudahkharis, a rice and meat dish, and lahoh, a pancake-like bread, are often served during the celebrations.
Local customs for Eid al-Adha in Djibouti
While the overall customs of Eid al-Adha are similar throughout Djibouti, there are some regional and ethnic variations in the way the holiday is celebrated. For example, the Afar and Somali communities, which constitute the majority of the population, may have different traditional clothing, songs, and dances that are showcased during the festivities.
In rural areas, the animal sacrifice is often carried out as a community event, with neighbors coming together to share in the process and distribution of the meat. In urban areas, people may choose to donate money to charity organizations, which then perform the sacrifice on their behalf and distribute the meat to the less fortunate.
Eid al-Adha is a deeply significant and widely celebrated holiday in Djibouti, reflecting the country's strong Islamic heritage. The customs and traditions associated with the Festival of Sacrifice promote a sense of unity, compassion, and generosity among Djiboutians, embodying the core values of their faith.