Several weeks ago I found out that UNG would be closed on November 27th for a Muslim holiday. Fantastic, I thought – a three-day weekend! I didn’t know what the holiday was called or even what was being celebrated until about two days beforehand. When I finally did find out what it was all about, I was extremely surprised, to say the least. The holiday is Idul Adha, which roughly translates as Festival of Sacrifice, and involves the slaughtering of many cows and goats. This tradition stems from the Muslim belief that they should sacrifice something for others as a way of honoring Abraham’s devotion to Allah. As the story goes, Allah appeared to Abraham one day and ordered him to sacrifice his son to prove his loyalty. When Abraham went to kill his son, the son turned into a goat. An important part of the holiday is distributing the meat from the sacrifice to the neighbors and especially to the poor.
Many families, like Tia’s, perform their own private sacrifice. Alternatively, people can also go to a sacrifice at the nearest mosque. So, after we watched the sacrifice at Tia’s place, we went around town in a bentor and visited several mosques that were at various later stages of the ritual process.
Down another road we stopped at another mosque where this man was happy to pose with his big knife.
At yet another mosque we could see the men dividing up the meat into equal portions on huge sheets of banana leaves.
At the last mosque we saw the final stage of the process. The meat portions were waiting in plastic bags to be picked up by those holding meat vouchers that had been distributed to the needy prior to the holiday.
And finally, I will leave you with this charming picture of a man holding a cow’s head. He joked that the two of them were twins, but I didn’t really get the joke.