At the end of the Hajj (annual pilgrimage to Mecca), Muslims throughout the world celebrate the holiday of Eid al-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice).
During the celebration of Eid al-Adha, Muslims commemorate and remember Abraham's trials. One of Abraham's main trials was to face the command of Allah to kill his only son. Upon hearing this command, he prepared to submit to Allah's will. When he was all prepared to do it, Allah revealed to him that his "sacrifice" had already been fulfilled. He had shown that his love for his Lord superceded all others, that he would lay down his own life or the lives of those dear to him in order to submit to God.
For Eid al-Adha Muslims may themselves slaughter an animal such as a sheep, camel, or goat. This action is very often misunderstood by those outside the faith. Often, the meat from the sacrifice of Eid al-Adha is mostly given away to others. One-third is eaten by immediate family and relatives, one-third is given away to friends, and one-third is donated to the poor. The act symbolizes a willingness to give up things that are of benefit to the devotee, in order to follow Allah's commands. It also symbolizes a willingness to give up some of a devotees own bounties, in order to strengthen ties of friendship and help those who are in need. Believers recognize that all blessings come from Allah, and they should open their hearts and share with others.
For others the sacrifice may be more symbolism - a willingness to make sacrifices in life. Perhaps small sacrifices, giving up things that are fun or important.
When explaining this one to the boys, I just said that for this holiday believers believe God asked one of his followers to give up something he really loved, and because the follower believed that God would only ask this if there was a good reason the follower decided he would do what God had asked- and then when God saw he was willing to give up what he loved God decided that he could keep this thing since he had shown his faith to God.
I was having a hard time coming up with a craft- but many of the sites I looked at for Eid al-Adha crafts suggested making a sheep. I wasn't sure about this at first, seemed not right to make a cute sheep project and then cook up lamb, but I was also lost for any other ideas so we drew a sheep. I had planned a cotton ball sheep project but the boys wanted to draw, so we still used a cotton ball and pulled out the googly eyes to complete our simple black and white drawing.
For our meal I wanted to make a lamb dish and I found this yummy sounding recipe here. Again searching for new ingredients in a foreign language made this quite the challenge for me. So I adapted the recipe to use what I had or could easily get my hands on.
- spices (we used ginger, cinnamon, black pepper, cloves)
- olive oil
- The night before we cooked I rubbed the spices into the lamb. I didn't really measure just kind of sprinkled away.
- The next day I drizzled some olive oil into the bottom of my baking dish threw in some chopped onion and laid the lamb in the middle. Placed into the oven that was set just under 400F.
- After 15 minutes I flipped the lamb and then let cook for an hour.
- After an hour I put in 2 cups of water, several dates, and a handful of almonds. (The boys ate the rest that weren't cooked.)
- I let it cook another 45 min. If water gets low you can add a little more for the sauce.
- When it was done I took it out and let cool a little and let the boys snack away. The baby and my middle child ate up a bunch right away and both were fans of the dates and almonds too. My oldest refused to eat it because suddenly he thought the dates looked gross- oh well adventures in getting my kids to eat everything continues!
Sorry to say I did not have many pictures of us cooking this meal. I did however get a quick click of the final product.