Beginning on October 15th, Muslims around the world gathered at mosques for dawn prayers to celebrate one of Islam’s most sacred holidays, Eid al -Adha. The holiday marks the end of the hajj, the pilgrimage made by Muslims during to the Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
|Inside the Al-Amin mosque. photo taken by Kaylyn Hlavaty|
The women were sitting in groups, some with children waiting for the morning prayer to start and others already praying. Not knowing where to sit, I slowly made my way over to a group of women talking. I introduced myself and I started to ask them questions about what Eid means to them. Since none of the women spoke English, we used our facial expressions and body language to communicate. Since we couldn’t understand each other when we spoke, we used facial expression and handshakes to show understanding and respect.
The burial of the late Abdalah Hasbalah
“It’s still very hard for me and my family. We are all very close and when you lose someone so close to a holiday that means a lot to us, it’s even more difficult,” said Amal.
|Children selling flowers outside the cemetery|
They invited me for Nescafe and as the avid coffee drinker I am, I immediately accepted the invitation. While Amal was preparing the coffee, her son Ahmad Bakri took me to see the slaughtering of the sheep. I was happy I could see the slaughter just down the street from their house. I was prepared to see quite a bit of blood because I come from a family of hunters so I’m used to this sort of process. According to tradition, the sheep were slaughtered in the front of the mosque. Women, children and men stood to witness the slaughter. There were three sheep already dead when I arrived, which left one sheep to follow the rest.
|The slaughter in front of the mosque. Photo taken by Kaylyn Hlavaty|
Once I saw the slaughter of the final sheep, we headed to Ahmad’s house in Kornish al Mazraa where his sister, Nada, his father Farook, his brother Emel and his mother Amal all live. From the moment I walked in, I was given such warm hospitality. Once we drank coffee, I wanted to see more of the traditions that were taking place, especially the outreach to the poor. Ahmad took me to Ibad Al Rahman. It resembles a charitable center with an attached mosque. Throughout the year, this center provides prayer classes, medical and food assistance and on Eid, meat donations to the community and the poor. Throughout the holiday, there is approximately 3,600 sheep butchered and donated to the center.
|Children witnessing the slaughter. Photo taken by Kaylyn Hlavaty|
|The butchers passing out the meat inside the center|
Photo taken by Kaylyn Hlavaty.
|People waiting in line for sheep meat. Photo taken by Kaylyn Hlavaty|
|Left: Farook Bakri and Emel Bakri at their home in Kornish al Mazraa|
Photo taken by Kaylyn Hlavaty