It’s a day of grilling and eating and family. It’s a lot like Thanksgiving. Only you go to the store and purchase a turkey prepared for cooking, and a big part of L’eid Kbir is the slaughtering of the sheep.
Mustafa, Jamila and the 2 older girls started the day at the mosque, in traditional fashion. Everyone is wearing new clothes for the occasion. Upon their return, we gathered just behind our house-both Musafa’s family home (where his mother lives) and his sister and brother in law live behind us. There we were met w/the bleating of the sheep-5 of which had been in a stall for a couple of days. Two of them were for us-one for Mustafa’s family and one for his sister’s family. The others were being stored for other families. You could hear the sheep all around the neighborhood. The men took the sheep, one at a time, and made a clean killing, skinning, beheading and gutting each animal as custom dictates. It wasn’t long until you realized that there were no more bleats from the neighborhood and you saw the smoke of grills from each house. The women were working in the kitchen cleaning each part as it came in, and started cooking. The sheep head and feet were placed on a grill first to burn off all the skin and hair. Again, in customary fashion, we ate the heart, liver and pancreas first-all grilled, and I might admit, delicious. The stomach/lung/intestine/internal parts were cooked in the pressure cooker and they showed up w/rice for lunch. These parts made an encore at dinner served w/the usual bread as utensil, followed by the sheep head-which was consumed all but the bones and fat. I made a feeble attempt at trying all of it. All parts of the sheep will be cooked and consumed-all parts. Yikes.
The day is spent much like our Thanksgiving-women in the kitchen cooking, sitting around talking with grandma around the fireplace, cousins playing together, the men watching soccer in the other room.
I then went to visit one of the Environmental volunteers for the day to see where he lives and partake in some of their goat from L’eid and the ram that he bought for his family. (Note-fresh, grilled goat meat is good). He lives w/his host family-moved out after 2 months, but moved back in to live w/all 11 of them. There were at least another 10 people around, but the mud walls and floors (painted and look like plastered) and a good fire in the fireplace kept us comfortable, despite the continuous rain. It was interesting to see where and how he lives, as the environment and health sector PCVs have the most remote sites-in the “bled”.
The entire week is pretty much a holiday-technically Leid is only 1 day, but schools and many businesses close for the week. It’s pretty quiet around town-helpful in some ways, ie; no line at the busta, but also difficult since so many shops are closed. I guess a time for rest.