Happy 3id to everyone!
Today and yesterday Moroccans are celebrating 3id Kbir, which celebrates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son and God’s subsequent substitution of the boy for a ram. Much of the Muslim world celebrated the holiday yesterday, but as with Ramadan, it all depends on when the moon is seen. Each Muslim family celebrates by feasting on an animal of their choice – usually a ram, but could also be a goat or camel or cow, depending on their tastes and budget. The animal is typically slaughtered at home by the head of the household with a quick slice to the neck and then butchered if he has the proper training or a hired butcher comes to make sure things are done the right way.
3id reminds me so much of Thanksgiving. You have a traditional meal based around a certain animal. Family tries to come together to celebrate. Relative strangers (or the poor Americans who live next door) are invited over to share in the meal. You share what you have with people who aren’t as well off and are grateful for what you do have.
My day started off (relatively early) with a breakfast at our house. After scarfing down some yogurt, Liz and I dressed ourselves in our limited collection of traditional clothes and ran up to the roof where we found not one, but three sheep awaiting their fates. Each belonged to one of our various neighbors, including the cutest family ever who live directly next door to us. We wished them happy 3id and offered apologies on not being able to join them for breakfast because we were expected at host family’s house in time to see their sheep.
Halfway there, we were flagged down by another of our neighbors, and we ran up to her roof quickly to see their sheep and drink a quick glass of tea and some cookies before offering apologies again and making it the rest of the way to host family. We met host dad on his way back from the mosque and after greeting him, headed up to their roof to see the rest of the family.
Last year there were three sheep to be done at host family’s house – one for them, one for our host uncle, and one for the family that lives downstairs from them. This year, we arrived just as the downstairs family was finishing theirs, and since host uncle was celebrating 3id with a different branch of the family this year, we only saw one actual slaughter.
We sat down for another breakfast, took pictures while host dad and the butcher took things apart, and spent several hours chatting with our three host sisters, punctuated with kebabs of sheep liver and lungs for lunch.
We also saw the partial preparation of the sheep’s head for a tajine tomorrow, however, our host aunt is the one who likes to eat it, so we expect it will be going to her house for consumption.
After slinking home in a food coma, we were delivered about a kilo of mutton from one of our neighbors, which is now residing in the fridge while we decide on an appropriately delicious recipe to use it in.
This morning, we were summoned to another neighbor’s house for breakfast – which included tea, meat kebabs, bread, and cookies. They make their kebabs into sandwiches with yummy chopped onions and spices, which were super good. After several games of Uno, which is my favorite game to share with Moroccans, we got up to leave and were told to stay for lunch, which was the yummiest eat and prune tajine I have ever had. Sweet and savory has never been so good. They also sent us home with a plate of meat, which went into the freezer this time.
3id this year is teaching me a new definition of the word full. For much of Morocco, meat is an expensive luxury. Meat included in meals is usually a small amount for each person, bolstered by bread and vegetables. 3id is a chance for everyone to bulk up on protein, which is why it’s eaten for several meals straight. I have felt pretty honored this year to have been invited to share the meal with multiple families. It’s a nice feeling to be a stranger and to be welcomed.
Now, time to research curry recipes and not eat anything for the rest of the day.