Christian experience at Eid-ul-adha

The tables are decked out with the best food and finger snacks while jovial children gallivant in the streets congratulating each other on this auspicious day.

Eid ul Adha is the second Eid celebration of every Muslim year. This translates into “the day of sacrifice”.

I have been lucky to be invited to this celebratory day every year, by a friend. Each time I have been invited, I have never asked what this day means to the Muslim community.  On the day of Eid ul Adha, or Labarang, I decided to familiarise myself with what it symbolises and also to understand more of it instead of just filling my tummy with the (oh-so-delicious) food. I decided to have a cultural experience and delved deeper – as a Christian – to understand the celebrations of the day and why it is done the way it is done.

Labarang (as it is popularly known locally), is celebrated at the end of pilgrimage. The pilgrimage is known as the 10 days of Hajj where Muslims retreat to in the holy city of Mecca. The Eid celebration symbolises the closing of this pilgrimage of those who successfully completed their pilgrimage journey.My curiosity was tickled when my friend, Jamiel Moses, explained that the day is translated into the day of sacrifice and I asked him to elaborate on this phrase.

He explained that on this day, the Muslims slaughter a sheep (Korban) as a sacrifice to thank Allah for the blessings they have received. The sacrifice ritual comes from a time when nabi Ebrahim (known as Prophet Abraham by Christians) was instructed by God to sacrifice his first born son.

However, when the day of the sacrifice came, it is said that God sent down a sheep instead, showing His infinite mercy.

Since then the ritual will come on Eid ul Adha. Muslims will gather at Korban and witness the slaughtering of the sheep and once it is finished, the meat from the slain sheep will be distributed among the poor in the community or to the neighbours of those who were able to Korban.

As the day progressed, Jamiel and his sisters were more than happy to enlighten me about the day. They explained that the action of Korban can be done to bless someone’s life as well- the Korban will be “dedicated” to a specific person. It is also believed that after Korban has been performed as a dedication to your life, more positive things will happen and you’ll be more blessed than before.

After hearing all this, I was glad that I chose to familiarise myself with this celebration. I am then also more appreciative of celebrating this day with them instead of just looking forward to gathering with him and his family and also the delicious traditional food that is made.

Chevon Booysen

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