It’s festival season again!! There’s a buzz in the air, and everyone is gearing up for lots of shopping and feasting! This year, the festive season beings with Bakr’Eid, also known as Eid al Adha or the Feast of the Sacrifice.
It’s important that our kids learn about the traditions of all religions in our country. The secular heritage of our nation can only be preserved by inculcating values of tolerance and inclusion among our kids from an early age. This is why today we are talking about Bakra Eid.
This is the second celebration in the Islamic lunar calendar, the first being Eid al Fitr which marks the end of Ramzan, the fasting month. Bakr’Eid marks the completion of the Hajj pilgrimage, but more importantly it celebrates the spirit of sacrifice. Here’s the story that is the origin of this celebration.
The Story behind Bakrid
About 4,000 years ago, the prophet Ibrahim lived with his family in Mecca, in Saudi Arabia. After years of prayers, they were blessed with a son, Ismail. Ibrahim was delighted with this blessing he got in his older years and loved his son a lot. When he was 99 and his son 13, Ibrahim began to have a series of dreams where God asked him to sacrifice his beloved son. Horrifying as it was, Ibrahim tried to ignore the dreams, but deep down he knew that this was how God communicated with his prophets. Finally, he could ignore it no more and he decided to do it, asking for Ismail’s permission first.
The young boy didn’t hesitate for a moment before saying that God’s command had to be followed, whatever it may be. Through tears, Ibrahim raised the knife to slaughter his son, but to his great surprise he found that his son was unhurt, and instead of him, a sheep lay slaughtered on the ground. God was just testing his devotion and he had cleared it. Ibrahim was beside himself with happiness and was glad his trust in God had paid off.
To this day, Muslims all over the world celebrate this sacrifice and strength of faith every year during Eid al Adha. With a few regional variations, most families follow the same pattern of celebration. Here are the 6 most popular Bakrid traditions, which you’re likely to find wherever in the world you’re celebrating!!
6 Bakrid Traditions
1. An Eid celebration means compulsory new clothes for the whole family!! All over the world, every family gets their Eid outfits ready well ahead of time, and there are usually sales to celebrate the occasion. Many mosques have associations that ensure that no family goes without new clothes and food on Eid, and charity contributions are often made. The night before, women are busy putting henna on each others’ hands and some are busy with last minute shopping as the stores are open all night. Houses are decorated, with all kinds of lamps, depending upon the region. Nowadays, banners and streamers are also used. In some countries, malls also join in the festivities, with themed decorations being put up.
2. On Eid morning, everyone showers and wears their new clothes. Dabbing on some perfume is also recommended and the whole family goes to the Eidgah, which is an area demarcated for the Eid prayer. It may be outdoors or indoors, depending on the weather. People wish each other and the special prayer is carried out in congregation. Here is a picture of the Eid prayer being held at the famous Jama Masjid in Delhi.
3. Since this festival commemorates Ibrahim’s sacrifice, Muslims all over the world sacrifice a four legged animal like a goat, sheep etc. Generally, one family sacrifices one animal and the meat is divided into three parts – one part for the family itself, one part for relatives and neighbors, and the third part to be distributed among the poor. There are increasing campaigns nowadays stressing on the spirit of the festival and to opt for a humane slaughtering and prevent animal cruelty.
4. It’s feast time!! Food prep usually begins the night before with peeling and grinding to make things easier on Eid day. Nearly every country has some kind of a rice-meat dish, seen as biryani or pulaos in India. Kababs are also popular. No feast is complete without dessert and there is nearly always a milk based dessert prepared in every home, like payasam, kheer, pudding or sheer korma.
5. Food is always more enjoyable when it is shared. Everyone exchanges food with their neighbors and many people invite classmates, colleagues and friends to share their feast. Potlucks are also quite popular with each family bringing their own specials to the table.
6. Festivals are also times for renewing old ties and visiting distant relatives. Everyone goes out visiting each other and of course, bearing gifts!! Clothes, jewelry, perfume, chocolates, books and toys are among the popular Eid gifts, though obviously, the sky’s the limit! Sometimes, kids are given money instead of gifts, so they can get what they like.
Festivals are a fun time for kids; it’s a great way for them to connect to their culture and understand their history. It’s also the perfect time to get creative!! Here are a few fun things for kids to do this Bakr’Eid.
4 Bakrid Crafts for Kids
The Silver Envelope has some really lovely party and festival ideas, and one that stands out is this Bakr’Eid Special sheep craft. Requires very few supplies and is easy for kids to make without help.
Cut shapes out of patterned paper and ask your child to stick them on a plain black card. Decorate with glitter or star stickers and you have a lovely Eid card all ready to gift! Make a few more, changing up the patterns and shapes, keeping the background same.
Amnah has these really creative goodie bags that look like the Ka’aba at Mecca. Fill them up with little toys and sweets and gift them to your friends!
Activity Village has a lovely glittery Moon and Star mobile craft that is really easy to make (printable included!). This makes a lovely decoration for the kids’ room or front door.
Now, you’ve got enough activities to keep your kids occupied in the days leading up to Eid al Adha.
So go ahead and enjoy; Eid Mubarak!
This post is by Fabida Abdulla, the regular contributor to The Mom Views and blogger at Shocks and Shoes. Fab writes about parenting, baking, shopping and all the little joys in life.