In Egypt, it is a big deal. Schools, government offices and universities close down for a long weekend. Families spend this time celebrating together and vacationing. In my second year, I went to Dahab on the Sinai Peninsula during the break.
While in Dahab, I made my way with my friend to the back streets to find a butchers shop. As we walked through the back streets, kids ran around in their nicest clothes and everyone seemed in high spirits. Nestled between two vegetable stands, we found a small butcher’s shop. In front of the shop, waiting to be turned into a yummy meal, were goats and sheep.
We spoke to the butcher and he said it was alright for us to photograph the process. Trucks rolled up delivering more animals and people came in a steady stream to pick out the animal they wanted. The tradition is to give a third of the animal’s meat to the poor, a third to your family and friends and the remaining third is kept.
A woman arrived to have the animal she had selected butchered. It was a medium sized black goat. The butcher took hold of the goat, recited a prayer, and quickly slit it’s throat spraying blood onto the ground. Within seconds the goat was dead. The butcher picked up the animal and hung it on hooks and began peeling back the skin to get to the meat below.
As we prepared to leave, we thanked the butcher for letting us observe. He asked that we be sure not to portray the slaughter as barbaric. We assured him that we didn’t see it that way and would explain the tradition as best we could.
So many of us eat meat on a daily basis, but we have become so removed from the process of preparing the food that it can seem shocking. This method, compared to the slaughterhouses you see in America, seemed much more humane.
- Eid-ul-Fitr (islamicmisconceptions.wordpress.com)
- In Pictures: Eid al-Fitr (bbc.co.uk)
- Zakat Al Fitr – Charity, so poor could celebrate Eid (learnsharehelp.wordpress.com)