Happy Eid to everyone! Today is officially the last day of Eid al-Adha. Eid is a Muslim holiday that celebrates the 70 days after Ramadan and is considered the “Greater Eid.” There is also a celebration called Eid al-Fitr which is celebrated three days after Ramadan. During Eid al-Fitr many sweets are eaten and children dress up in nice clothes.
Eid al-Adha is a completely different story, it is a holiday meant to commemorate the story of Abraham sacrificing his son, Isaac. For this reason Eid al-Adha typically involves the slaughtering of a sheep which, my host family bought two of. They spent the last week living on our roof.
Being a vegetarian I was nervous to watch a live animal be killed and skinned. It’s something I had never seen before and something I don’t feel the need to see again. That aside, I am glad I got to truly experience a Muslim holiday in a Muslim country.
Eid started on Thursday at around 7:30am. I awoke to the voices of my host nephew and his father. All of the men in the family had gathered at our house to help with the sheep. After a quick breakfast we all went to the roof to watch which wasn’t nearly as bad as I previously thought; although the entire process took over an hour. The sheep had to be skinned and all of its internal organs were removed. Tunisians use EVERY SINGLE PART of the sheep. Nothing goes to waste.
After the first sheep was killed I decided to go for an early morning run. I really enjoy being out in the mornings here because there are usually very few people out; but, on this particular morning though I did hear many sheep baa-ing.
When I returned from the run, the house was quiet. Only my host mother was awake. She said she had to go to the store before they all closed. My host brother and sister slept till noon and after everyone began to prepare the sheep to eat. We had a barbecue for lunch. I had never eaten sheep before so I told my host family I would try it. After a few bites I was done. The meat was very tough and since I’m not used to eating meat I didn’t want to get sick from eating too much of it.
After lunch there was more sleeping and then more preparing of the sheep. There was so much meat! It completely filled the kitchen. We still have meat left over. I’m really happy I will be away on an excursion with SIT this week because I have had my fair share of meat.
On Friday my host brother Iness and his family came over for dinner. My host mother spent most of the day in the kitchen preparing the food. I was glad to see my host dad helping in the kitchen as well.
On Saturday my other host brother Amer and his family came over for a late lunch of haggis. I had never eaten haggis before but I actually really enjoyed the stuffing.
A bit after we ate I made my way to SIT to meet the other students for a barbecue with my program. We went to the house of Mounir’s brother(Mounir is my AD). We had a lovely evening full of delicious food and great conversation.
On Monday we all will leave for the Northern Excursion. SIT programs always include excursions so that students can explore multiple parts of the country. For our first excursion we will be heading first to Le Kef, after that we will head to Tabarka and then Bizerta. We will also be stopping along the way at some smaller villages along the way and visiting some ancient ruins as well. But I’ll leave you in anticipation for those until my next blog!