Eid al-Adha Festivity: A Happy Day Back All Anew

By: Aisha Braima

KHARTOUM (SUDANOW)-It is common knowledge that if you are in Sudan and continue to feel the pleasant smell of the popular soft drink hulu murr (bitter sweet) in the air , you should figure out that it is the holy fasting month of Ramadan coming thorough.
Equally, if you happen to be in Sudan and see swarms of heads of sheep roaming the streets, you should also conclude that it is Eid al-Adha (Qurban Bayram), looming in.
Herds of sheep can be seen in open spaces, public squares, at road junctions and along road sides . Sheep traders can be seen trying to control the herds, nudge them to cross roads quickly or, else, sitting in the shades waiting for would-be buyers. From time to time the trader would jump to his feet to welcome and tout a new customer to buy from him.

At marketplaces, in the city or town lanes and at road junctions you can also see vendors displaying their merchandize of knives, cutlasses and axes. These vendors can go deep into the neighbourhoods with these much needed weapons on the happy occasion.
Iron smiths can also be seen roaming the lanes offering their service of sharpening knives , axes and cutlasses. In the past this job was laborious but with the introduction of modern knife grinders the man would do the job in no time and then proceed on in search of new customers.
Other vendors display fraying pans and all the necessities of a good steak or barbecue, Lemon, onions, charcoal, garlic and Sudanese spices are also in high demand.
The prices of onions and charcoal have now seen a dramatic jump unprecedented. A sack of onions that a month ago sold at SDG 270 now sells at SDG 600. Charcoal prices have jumped from SDG p160 to SDG 300-400 a sack.
And as the Eid draws closer, sheep bleating that we used to hear in the marketplaces and road sides can begin to be heard coming out from households. It is these cries that matter for children . Delighted by these voices, the children would surround the noble guest and try to touch it or, in moments of unusual courage, ride on its back. Of course there are some very emotional children who would not want to part with this temporary guest and try the best they can to stop the butcher from doing his job.
According to the teachings of The Prophet Mohammad the sacrifice should be made by those who can afford to. However, Sudanese always do their best not to miss this rite. But those who cannot buy the sheep needn't worry. Neighbours are always ready to offer part of their meat to needy neighbours.
In the past people used to send meat to the neighbours, rich or poor, as a sign of goodwill and because sheep were affordable at very low prices. Poet Izzeddin Hilali remembers that as a young boy he used to be sent with a tray full of meat to give to the neighbours and when the round was over he would be back home with the tray full of meat. This is because every housewife he visits would accept his gift and would insist to present him with some meat from her sheep.” Also tell your mother to taste our lamb,’’ the woman would say.
But with the rising cost of living, the sacrifice has become a financial burden for many families.
So far a sheep price ranges between 1700-2300 pounds, according to Dr. Um Salama Abdulmajid , director of the Sudanese centre for consumer protection and culture .(One U.S Dollar sells at 10 pounds in the free market).
Per capita in Sudan is less than 3000 Dollars, according to the latest classification released by the Arab Authority on Investment Guarantees.
Regardless, Sudanese are very keen about the sacrifice for two reasons: to keep the family tradition and bring happiness to the household, children in particular. To do so, some families now buy the sheep in installments. Trade unions and some government and private bodies provide sheep in installments for their members.
Because many economists had kept criticizing the crude manner in which livestock is sold in Sudanese markets where the prices are just an estimation , the Khartoum State authorities have accepted an initiative by the Consumer Protection and Culture Centre to sell sheep by weight. Price per kilogram was fixed at 29 pounds Accordingly, a sheep that weighs 30 kgm would sell at 870 pounds , quite a difference from the current random pricing. ‘’ The idea is meant to stem the authority of middlemen and also to disseminate the culture of selling and buying by weight, says Dr. Um Salama. She says if this culture takes hold, prices will go down a great deal.
Many families prefer to begin the Eid Day with a light meal of sorghum porridge following performance of eid prayer. Later on when the meat is prepared and cooked families have full meals.
Men are responsible for the slaying and preparation of meat for cooking. They also help with some cooking if need be.
The favourite dish is charcoal barbecue. Also, fried meat is a must. But one should also take his share from bowel soup (locally known as kammooniyya). Some people like to have a snack of heavily peppered mixture of raw liver, lung and stomach (mararah).
Extended families who live in the same town or village gather at one home to have their meals together. The next day they move to another home.
The sharbout is a favourite Eid drink. This is an emulsion of lightly fermented dates . Fermentation is made by the addition of certain spices and aromatic herbs. The sharbout is believed to help with quick digestion of fatty food. But due to some reservations from some Moslem scholars, the use of sharbout is becoming less. Young generations now prefer to have soft drinks instead.
The Eid is also associated with some other happy occasions. Many weddings are now held during the Eid holiday.
The Eid al-Adha festivity coincides with yet a far more important Moslem ritual: The Haj, or pilgrimage to Mecca.
Both the Adhiya (sacrifice) and the Haj draw from the tradition of Prophet Ibrahim. The Holy Koran relates that Prophet Ibrahim beseeched the Al Mighty to make the Haj place in Mecca a haven and a place of worship for people. Centuries later the Almighty communicated this to Prophet Mohammad. It then became obligatory to a Moslem to perform the Haj once in his lifetime, if he/she affords to.
The Adhiya(sacrifice) is also part of the tradition of Prophet Ibrahim. Ibrahim had a vision that he should slay his son Ismail, and he obeyed. Ismail also urged his father to do what the Almighty had commanded him to do. Then at the moment Ibrahim was about to do so, the Angel landed with a sheep, telling Ibrahim to slay it instead.


Sudanow is the longest serving English speaking magazine in the Sudan. It is chartarized by its high quality professional journalism, focusing on political, social, economic, cultural and sport developments in the Sudan. Sudanow provides in depth analysis of these developments by academia, highly ...


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