August 22, 2019
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From Mecca to Baghdad, Muslims mark Eid al-Adha

Cairo, Aug 11 (EFE).- From Mecca to Baghdad, going through Khartoum, Arab Muslims on Sunday marked Eid al-Adha by sacrificing animals.

The ritual honors how Abraham offered to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God.


In the Egyptian capital, the economic struggle has not prevented those who have enough resources from sacrificing animals in the streets as in previous years.

Doing so, they ignored calls by Egyptian authorities to use public slaughterhouses.

Those who sacrifice animals in the public streets are subject to fines.

People in need could get donations, as solidarity is an important part of the spirit of Eid.

Islam's teachings state that the meat of the sacrificed animal is divided into three parts, a third to keep, another to give away to poor people and another to present the beloved ones.


In the holy city of Mecca, up to 1 million head of cattle are expected to be sacrificed within four days as part of the Hajj rituals, performed this year by nearly 2.5 million people.

Local authorities have set up eight large slaughterhouses manned by 40,000 workers.

The meat of the sacrificed animals is consumed by pilgrims in Mecca and the rest is conserved in freezers and transported to be donated to other Islamic countries through the Islamic Development Bank.

The animal sacrifice began on Sunday after pilgrims started to perform the "Stoning of the Devil," which consists of throwing pebbles at three walls in Mecca's Mina district - the three walls in Islamic tradition represent the devil.


This year, rain marred the Sudanese people's celebrations as it prevented them from performing the Eid prayers in public squares as per tradition.

The political and economic situation in Sudan, immersed in a delicate transition period after the ousting of President Omar al-Bashir, has also cast a shadow over the celebrations.

At mosques, imams denounced the power vacuum, calling on civil and political forces, and the military council that runs the country to form a transitional government as soon as possible, in line with a deal both parties struck in July.

During his sermon, the preacher at Khartoum's Great Mosque, Hasan Saleh, said that "people are not happy with the high prices of products and services," which prevented many from buying an animal to sacrifice.


Baghdad has witnessed the happiest Eid in a while as roads and streets are reopened after the security barriers were removed.

In contrast to previous years, no attacks have taken place during this Eid, which Iraqis are celebrating calmly.

Family members are gathering in the oldest individual's home to enjoy the meat of the sacrificed animal together and then they head to cemeteries to honor the memory of their beloved dead or to visit friends and relatives.

In each meeting, they drink tea with Kleicha, a traditional Iraqi cookie.


In Jordan, the traditional Baklava dessert sweetens times of economic crisis that have prevented some Jordanians from performing all the Eid traditions - buying gifts for children and women; sacrificing a lamb, cow or camel; or taking an excursion.

Going to Red Sea beaches or traveling somewhere to escape the heat of the summer is a luxury only a few can afford, while the majority of people just hope to enjoy the meat. EFE


Related content

Streets remain Egyptians’ favorite slaughterhouse in Eid al-Adha

By Noemí Jabois

Cairo, Aug 11 (efe-epa).- Cairo's streets were awash with blood from animal sacrifices during the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha.

Despite attempts by the government to promote a more hygienic place for the ritual slaughters, public roads remained the most popular location.

At one of the entrances to the al-Basateen public slaughterhouse, three cows, a sheep and a goat unknowingly waited to be sacrificed.

Animals are butchered during Eid to honour how Abraham offered to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God.

Families arrived in their cars holding large plastic containers to take the meat from the animals after the killing.

It was not the nauseating smell that surrounded the place, but because neither fines nor offering free services in public slaughterhouses have managed to change the custom.

By contrast to the lack of activity at al-Basateen, the scene on one of the main avenues of the residential neighborhood of Zamalek was striking.

Every 100 meters, a group of people gathered in front of a butcher's shop to get a kilo of fresh lamb meat or to get their sheep killed.

A butcher sharpened one knife against the other, a worker cleaned offal while children shouted excitedly as a stream of blood came out of the neck of a ram.

“I prefer to come to the butcher’s shop to be able to see the animal and the quality of the meat, as well as watching the cutting process,” Mohanad Nader, a 38-year-old banker, told Efe.

Mansour Mohamad oversaw his shop while seated on one side of an improvised stall on the street under hanging skinless heads of livestock and between mountains of offal and pools of blood.

“The sacrificial lamb should be male, have twisted horns, a beard and a black dot on the leg,” he told Efe.

"Regarding cows, all can be slaughtered except for calves that still suckle."

Whatever the animal going to sacrifice, the process should follow the Islamic teachings.

First of all, the name of Allah should be said and then the neck of the animal should be cut at the veins.

Once the animal is dead, the meat is divided into three parts, a third to keep, another to give away to poor people and another to present the beloved ones.

Mohamed lamented that the number of his clients had declined as Eid al-Adha, or the Festival of the Sacrifice, fell in the middle of the summer.

Many people were on holiday outside Cairo or left at the weekend to make the most of the festive days, which last until Wednesday.

Nevertheless, more than 50 customers had approached his shop, including some who came just to buy meat and others who brought their own animals to be sacrificed.

The tradition of animal slaughter has been criticised by animal rights campaigners.

One customer dismissed the complaints as unfounded.

Islamic teachings state that the animal should not see the knife to ease its suffering.

Animal sacrifice is the most controversial part of the Eid, but the festival includes other rituals and traditions, which began on Sunday morning with prayers and continued with family meals and gifts for children.

Dina Arafa, 24, said the whole family has spent the night awake.

They went to perform the Eid prayers shortly after dawn and then went to Zamalek to buy a lamb to sacrifice.

“This is our butcher’s shop and we got used to sacrificing here a long time ago,” she added.

So the public street remained the favorite place for sacrifices, despite the government's efforts. EFE-EPA


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