Eid Al Adha in poor Moroccan neighborhoods: A day of sharing and solidarity

By Karima Rhanem – Morocco World News

Rabat, October 26, 2012

Eid Al Adha in poor neighborhoods is special. People show their support and solidarity towards their neighbors. Unemployed young men, kids and teenagers find a way to earn money through grilling the sheep heads and legs. Kids are rushing everywhere in the courtyards of homes, whose doors are widely open for neighbors to exchange El Eid greetings.

Bouâza, 57, accompanied by his younger son Mustapha (10 years), came back home from Al Adha feast prayer around 9.30 am. His wife Khadija and his four daughters were preparing breakfast and arranging all kinds of kitchen appliances used especially for this occasion.

Their neighbors’ children were rushing in and out of the house as the door was wide open, looking at the small sheep tied to the window in the corner of the courtyard. The children could not stop imitating the sheep bleating.

Baaa, baaa, hi Masoud, baaaaaaaaaa,” said a kid, calling the sheep ‘Masoud’. Another kid took the hay trying to feed Masoud.

The house was full of visitors who came in to exchange El Eid greetings. Following a late breakfast, the house became, eventually, calm as all the neighbors went to slaughter their sheep. You could barely hear Khadija asking her husband “now, who will slaughter our sheep?”

In front of the house, neighborhood boys, who had spent the whole week selling packs of hay to feed sheep for their final days, were now supervising the barbecue charcoal, used to grill the sheep’s heads. Knife-sharpeners had joined the butchers and the neighboring volunteers to slaughter the sheep.

By midday, Bouâza managed to find a volunteer neighbor, who offered to slaughter his sheep. Bouâza’s daughters, aged between 15 and 20, were struggling with housework and cleaning the sheep’s liver in preparation for a barbecue “Boulfaf.”

Bouâza and Khadija’s family live in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Rabat. Though poor, neighbors show great solidarity to one another, helping in sheep slaughter, distributing meat to those who couldn’t afford to buy a sheep.

The neighborhood was lively as the teenagers supervised the barbecue on the sounds of Eminem and Jazzy music.

As usual, Khadija wasn’t happy with El Eid. She certainly missed her eldest son Hassan who was still in Casablanca’s Okacha prison.

“I can’t enjoy El Eid while my beloved son is away from me,” said Khadija. She added that her son was caught last year while stealing a car, and that he was sentenced to two years prison.

Many teenagers in the area are juvenile delinquents, either because of poverty, or lacking parents’ control. These poor teenagers found a refuge in El Eid to forget the harsh realities of their lives.

Jobless, Yassine, Hassan’s friend, switched from selling loose cigarettes to packs of hay during this occasion.

“I made enough money during El Eid, as many people come to buy hay. Can you imagine that I am selling them hay, instead of taking it home to our own sheep?” said Yassine.

“Do you know why?” He added: “Simply because we did not buy a sheep, although I would have liked to make my younger brothers and sisters happy. But as you see, ‘Allah Ghalab.’ “I am a mere loose cigarette seller”

Yassine continued with his strong street accent “Al khout Allah yaâwanhom dabrou âalina bi chi chwiya dial lham (O, brothers, may God help them gave us some meat).”

Many people in the area, like Yassine’s family, could not afford to buy a sheep. However, some of them borrowed money from their relatives or friends. For them, not buying a sheep is shameful; others think it is not compulsory to buy a sheep when you do not have money.

© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed

Categories: Society

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