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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Sacrifice Feast Excites Muslim Children like Christmas Eve

“When I was a kid, I used to wait all year for this day to come” said Dina, her eyes beaming in the remembrance of nice childhood memories. “Some years I couldn’t even sleep all night and only think about my new clothes and special food that I would have on that magical day”

aliMany people could easily take this as a Christmas feeling in their childhood. However, there are several other celebrations in the world, when children would feel like living in a dream, without knowing a single word on Santa Clause.

The Sacrifice Feast (Eid al-Adha) or the Festival of Sacrifice is a religious festival celebrated by Muslims. It commemorates the Sacrifice made by the Prophet Abraham (Ibrahim) when God asked him to give his own son. The feast re-enacts Ibrahim’s obedience by sacrificing a cow or ram. The celebration of Eid al-Adha commemorates this event as Muslims all over the world sacrifice an animal during this day. This year, it was celebrated between November 27 and 30.

Dina Abdou and Reem Alzaim are two Egyptian students at Umass Boston, also members of UMass Boston Muslim Students’ Association. Living in Boston for seven years, they felt nostalgic to return to the Feast days in Egypt.

“We always had new clothes before the Feast. Because you should wear your best clothes to attend the day” started Dina. “Even the streets wore their best clothes. All street trees were decorated in a special way”.

“One of the best parts of Eid al-Adha is that relatives gives a lot of pocket money to children” continues Reem. “When you are small, you think you can buy a fortune with it. I used to buy a lot candies”.

Sacrifice Feast has many popular names as Feast of Sacrifice, Festival of Sacrifice, Eid el-Kibir (the ‘Big’ Eid), Bari Eid, Baed Eid, Bakri Eid, Kurban Bajram, Qurban Bayram, Kurban Bayrami, Kurban Eit.

So what does an average UMass student know about any of these names? Paulo Gomes, a Cape Verdean graduate student in sociology and psychology courageously volunteered to tell what the Sacrifice Feast evokes for him even if he admits to have any good knowledge:

“I guess that in Sacrifice Feast, people get together and sacrifice an animal in a specific way. The sacrifice should definitely be a goat or sheep. For the one who can’t afford for the limps, it can be a chicken or birds. Before this, only men gather and attend a prayer. They will have a feast with the sacrifice and enjoy a dinner. They will cook the sacrifice according to a traditional way. The elder person in the family will be the first one to be served. After the sacrifice, everyone will talk about their future resolutions.”

Despite some of his mistakes, Paulo does a good job. Just to correct and inform further: Muslims mostly sacrifice limps, goats, cows and camels and not chickens and birds. The meat from the sacrifice is mostly given away to others, which is a sign of social solidarity. One-third is eaten by immediate family and relatives, one-third is given away to friends, and one-third is donated to the poor who are excused from sacrificing animals. Moreover, mosque prayers are open to everyone, not only to men. It is also a tradition in some countries that husbands buy presents to their wives.

This festival is a very happy time for Muslims for special prayers, visits to family and friends, gifts to children and, of course for food. Away from their homeland, Dina and Reem are a bit disappointed with the fact that they cannot share their excitement with other students at UMass Boston. Maybe it is now a good occasion to drop by the Muslim Students’ Association on 2nd floor at Campus Center and share similar childhood excitements.

About the Contributor
Barış Munyakmaz served as the following positions for The Mass Media the following years: Managing Editor: 2010-2011 Culture & Diversity Editor: 2009-2010