Two weeks ago, Muslims around the world celebrated Eid al-Adha. In Islam, there are two big celebrations each year – Eid al-Fitr celebrating the end of the fasting month of Ramdan, and Eid al-Adha which falls at the end of Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca each Muslim will try to make at least once in their life. Eid al-Adha is a celebration of a Muslims obedience to God, of being guided in life by submission to His will. Otherwise known as the Feast of the Sacrifice, Eid al-Adha is when Muslims commemorate Abrahams willingness to sacrifice his only son following a vision he believed to be from God. As Abraham lay Ismail down for the sacrifice, Ismail also in submission to what he believed Gods decree, angel Gabriel appeared and told him instead to sacrifice a sheep. On the first morning of Eid, when Hajj pilgrims have descended Mount Arafat, Muslims worldwide sacrifice an animal and distribute the meat between family and those in need.
As with all religious holidays, whether Islamic or not, celebrations are underpinned with gratitude for Gods blessings, for family, friends & health. We remember that it is these, not money, that makes us wealthy. Traditional celebrations vary from country to country and families too; here in Turkey the first day of Eid, families visit family, in hierarchical order as is Turkish custom. Our family here’s small, just G’s parents & two brothers, and on the first day of Eid we all converge at his parents house for a lunch of peas cooked with minced meat & carrot & coconut dessert – my favourite of all Turkish sweets. It’s a day when we dress up and smile, kiss elders hands to our heads and feel blessed to be all together again. This year, my Grandma was in town for the first day, day two we visited the Eyup Sultan mosque & the surrounding area, and on the final day, we visited with friends allowing M some child-baby playtime & us an hour of baby free us-time, discovering that friends having a nanny can be nice as a treat!
To outsiders it may seem that in Islam, at Eid, there’s no celebration – we start our day at the mosque, sacrifice an animal, distribute its meat, try to finish the day with a prayer. We don’t have the lights or the presents or carols – but then, nor did Christmas time once. Our holidays are celebrations not just of the event it is formed round, more of the abundance we already have in our day-to-day life, of the health and relationships we can often take for granted. Eid reminds us to remember what we have, to give thanks and rejoice; looking at this photo, I’d say M gets the idea….