Monday, October 06, 2014

Feast of the Sacrifice

This is just a part of the spread
One advantage of marrying a Muslim woman is that now, in addition to the Christian holidays I've observed all my life, I have opportunity to enjoy Muslim holidays as well. And being something of a trencherman, I make note of an obvious benefit. More holidays means more feasts!

Halal lamb with trimmings
Last Saturday was the Muslim holiday of Eid. (West African Muslims refer to the day as "Tabaski.") It's a commemoration of the day when Ibrahim (or Abraham) led his son, Ishmael, to the place of sacrifice where he believed God had commanded him to sacrifice the boy as a demonstration of faith. Ibrahim, though saddened and horrified, was prepared to carry out the act, but at the last moment God revealed a ram to be offered up in the boy's stead. Thus, did God pronounce the end of human sacrifice.

It's a story that is, of course, common to all of the Abrahamic religions, although I don't believe that Christians or Jews commemorate the day as a holiday.

Maty and Nadia hard at work
Maty, devout Muslim that she is, endeavored to have a celebratory feast in our new home. After attending the big Muslim prayer gathering that occurred at the Convention Center, she spent Saturday and Sunday slaving away in the kitchen to prepare a grandiose banquet.

African girls
On the menu was Halal lamb, grilled chicken, kale and fruit salads, various cheeses, yassa (Senegalese onion sauce) served over vermicelli, and ném (Senegalese spring rolls).

I ate too much, of course. By the end of the evening I was uncomfortably full. But I defy anyone to resist the flavors.

The woman that made it all happen
Muslim holidays are often hard for Maty. She thinks of her family in Africa and knows that they are celebrating and it makes her miss them all the more. So I'm very grateful that she's found a way to find joy in the holidays here in America, even though she's so far from her home. And we're blessed to have so many friends that love her and that we can call family.

A very happy Tabaski (Eid) to all!

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