Sunday, December 23, 2007

Eid ul Azha

Friday was the Muslim holiday Eid ul Azha. It's the second largest religious holiday of the year. To celebrate Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son to God, they sacrifice animals (usually cows or goats here) and share the meat with family and the poor.

The week before Eid ul Azha, the streets of Dhaka become crowded with goats and cows being taken to market. Most people prefer to spend the holiday in their village homes, since sacrificing animals can be messy. However, there's plenty of sacrificing in Dhaka as well. The night before there were numerous cows tied up outside houses on our street. The clean them and put festive decorations on their heads and necks. Odin enjoyed visiting all the cows on our street.
Early on Eid, someone trained in proper religious sacrifice protocol comes to kill the animals in the street. The family then cuts the animal up for sharing the meat. Less fortunate people from nearby slum neighborhoods come to houses sacrificing for meat handouts. We like to call this phenomena 'meat trick-or-treat'.
Queuing up for meat on our street

Some children with their bags of meat on Eid

Being a vegetarian, I'm not crazy about this holiday. That morning the streets are covered in blood and the smell of dead animal lingers into the evening. However, this is one of the few times during the year that many people in Bangladesh eat meat- usually they cannot afford it. I guess that a little extra protein in their diets can't hurt.

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