Eid al-Adha holiday in Morocco
Eid al-Adha, also known as the Feast of Sacrifice, is a significant religious holiday celebrated in Morocco, as in many other Muslim-majority countries. In Morocco, the holiday is known as Aid al-Kebir or Aid el-Kebir, meaning "the big celebration." The date of Eid al-Adha varies each year as it is determined by the Islamic lunar calendar, falling on the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah, the twelfth month of the Islamic year.
Eid al-Adha has been celebrated in Morocco since the arrival of Islam in the region in the 7th century. The holiday commemorates the willingness of the Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son Ismail (Ishmael) as a demonstration of his devotion to Allah. According to Islamic belief, Allah intervened and replaced Ismail with a ram to be sacrificed instead. This story is shared among the three Abrahamic religions: Islam, Christianity, and Judaism.
National customs for Eid al-Adha in Morocco
Moroccans observe several national customs during Eid al-Adha. The most important custom is the act of sacrificing an animal, usually a sheep or a goat, following the example of Prophet Ibrahim. Families who can afford it purchase a healthy animal to be slaughtered at home or in designated areas by the head of the household or a professional butcher. The meat is then distributed in three parts: one-third for the family, one-third for friends and neighbors, and one-third for the poor and needy.
On the morning of Eid al-Adha, Muslims in Morocco attend a special prayer at the mosque, dressed in their finest clothes. Afterwards, they return home to perform the sacrifice and spend time with family and friends. It is also customary to give gifts, particularly to children, and to visit the graves of deceased family members, offering prayers for their souls.
Local customs for Eid al-Adha in Morocco
While the main customs of Eid al-Adha are similar throughout Morocco, there are some local variations in the way the holiday is celebrated. In some regions, traditional music and dance performances take place during the festivities. In rural areas, the animal sacrifice may be carried out in communal spaces, where families gather to share the experience and strengthen their bonds.
Food plays an important role in the celebrations, and Moroccan families prepare various traditional dishes using the meat from the sacrificed animal. Some popular dishes include mechoui, a whole roasted lamb; tagine, a slow-cooked stew featuring meat, vegetables, and spices; and kebabs, grilled skewers of marinated meat.
Eid al-Adha is a significant religious holiday in Morocco, reflecting the country's deep Islamic roots. The customs associated with the holiday, such as the animal sacrifice, prayer, and charitable acts, serve to strengthen the bonds between family, friends, and the wider community. The celebration of Eid al-Adha is a time for Moroccans to come together in gratitude, generosity, and remembrance, honoring the spirit of Prophet Ibrahim's devotion to Allah.