Friday, October 26, 2012

Eid is bringing back the memories

Eid Mubarak friends!

It's Eid al Adha, the Muslim holiday which celebrates Abraham's courage, faith, and obedience to God when he took his son Ishmael to be a sacrifice. Yes, his son Ishmael, not Isaac, like we Christians believe.

For me, this holiday brings me back to when I first moved to Mombasa. We had only been in the city for about 3 weeks and were having a really hard time adjusting. I woke up one morning only to find the eerie prayer calls going for hours and hours. Totally confused, I started getting text messages from Muslim friends wishing me a 'Eid Mubarak'. I was so baffled as to what was happening. It was all so new and surreal to me.

I was able to find an email I sent out to friends about the day. Here is a short passage that I wrote:

Lately I’ve been able to sleep through the loud and eerie prayer calls from the local mosques in the morning so when I woke up this morning at 4:30 I knew that they would be coming soon and that I wouldn’t be able to sleep through them. Well they started around 5 am and they played and they played and they played and they played some more. It wasn’t until about 7am that I decided to get out of bed and figure why they have playing for hours. I discovered that today is one of the biggest celebrations for muslims called Eid al-Adha.

I had to look up what the significance of this day is and this is what my book said, “This celebration commemorates the willingness of Abraham when he was asked to sacrifice his son Ishmael. Abraham showed his readiness and Al’ah was very pleased. A ram was sacrificed instead of Ishmael on Al’ah’s command.” Does that sound familiar? Muslims believe that it wasn’t Isaac Abraham offered to sacrifice but Ishmael. I also believe that this day celebrates the end of Hajj which is the 10 day period where the pilgrimage to Mecca is made. If muslims do their pilgrimage to Mecca during these 10 days, it is more significant than if they go at any other time of the year.

 Today, they will go to the mosque in the morning to do their prayers, fast all day, then slaughter a goat and feast on it tonight. I was walking around town today and there was definitely a different feel to the city. I ran into a friend of mine from the library who was trying to explain to me her excitement that she gets to go shopping They are supposed to buy new and fancy outfits to wear for the feast tonight. I had another friend who text messaged me first thing this morning to wish me a happy Eid day. I can see their excitement. This is a day where they get new clothes, get a wonderful meal, and get to spend time with their families.

Outside our house we usually find this large herd of goats. There must be about 25-30 of them that wander around out neighborhood. Lately, we haven’t been seeing them and I now understand why. Every mus.lim family in the world is supposed to slaughter a goat today if they have the means to. Now, that’s a lot of goats. My guess is that those goats were especially bred and kept for this day. As we walked through the streets yesterday, we could see goats tied up outside of everyone’s houses. And they all have green spots on them! I am not sure the reason for it but the entire city is filled with green goats! We will never see our little neighborhood goats again…

I have learned to love Eid. The beauty of living in a city that embraces two religions is that you get two sets of public holidays! We are not working today since most of our youth are muslims and are busy with Eid celebrations. Kongowea kind of shuts down. Even the Christians celebrate it.

I am not really sure if people really understand what they are celebrating. I think some just know that its Eid so they must celebrate.

For most people, celebrating means food! It's the one day they save up for to make biryani. And its YUM!

In fact, as I was in the middle of writing this post, we had a friend deliver a big pot of biryani to our front door! Guess what we are having for supper!?

Our prayer this morning was that our Muslim friends would seek God with all their hearts.

Because God promises that if you seek Him, you will find Him, the true God.

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