Eid Al-Adha’s Sheep Fest in Egypt

Muslims across Egypt began celebrating the first day of Eid Al Adha this morning. Right after dawn men and women gathered to pray the Eid prayer in the mosque, where the Eid ‘song’ filled the morning air through microphones. After the special Eid prayer, Eid Al-Adha’s Sheep Fest in Egypt began, and people who could afford to began to slaughter their sacrifices to God; usually sheep or bull. Oblivious to their fate, these animals will be on a dinner plate before the day ends.

For the past few weeks herds of sheep have been arriving on the streets of Cairo, where butchers or shepherds set up camp on a pavement or on the side of the road. Butchers usually put a wooden fence around the sheep in front of their shop to prevent them from running off, but shepherds arriving from the country usually keep them on a pavement without a border and the sheep don’t try to escape.

Although Cairo is eerily quiet on Eid, butchers around the city are busy with queues of people waiting for their sheep to be slaughtered. The city is also very busy with beggars arriving from different parts of Egypt, waiting for their portion of meat and money. Luckily for these sheep, the land in front of the butcher’s was spacious enough for them to walk around.

To be honest, it’s hard for me to see animals being slaughtered, however humane it is carried out. But I guess this is the test we must endure, hoping to be obedient to God like Prophet Abraham.

What surprises me is that every part of the bull or sheep is eaten, almost nothing is left to spare! Speaking of bulls and sheep, these two had a bit of a brawl. I will testify that the smaller fellow started the fight first, ramming his horns into the bull. The bull provoked him for several consecutive rounds, however, but because he was tied up, it didn’t get very far.

Most of these sheep liked posing for the camera!

Although many people slaughter their sheep at the butcher’s, many others prefer to slaughter their sacrifice in either their apartment building’s garage or outside their house, hiring a butcher that comes right to the premises. They weigh the animal, and the price is set accordingly.

They’ll either rent a truck to carry their sheep or bull to wherever they’ll slaughter it. I have also seen many people put their sheep in the boot of their car!

After the butcher has completed his work, a portion of the meat is usually given to the poor and needy, while the rest is cooked for the traditional Eid dish Fattah. Those who weren’t able to slaughter a sheep on the first day of Eid do so on the second day. Because most of us have been up since dawn, a little nap is usually in order before gathering with the family in the evening for the Eid dinner, where most people overdose on meat. It’s that kind of day.

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