This Friday, Sept. 1st marks the beginning of Eid al-Adha, a four-day Islamic festival celebrated worldwide every year. Known as Tabaski in Senegalese Wolof, the festival honors the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son Ishmael, as an act of obedience to God’s command. According to the holy story, before he sacrificed his son, God intervened by sending a ram in his son’s place.
In commemoration of this, on Tabaski families slaughter a ram in ritual sacrifice after sunrise prayers at the local mosque. Traditionally, one third of the ram is kept and eaten by the family, one third is given to friends, neighbors and relatives, and one third is given to the poor. Over 90% of Senegal’s population is Muslim, and many people travel to their home villages to share a feast with their families, eating the ram, vegetables, rice, and sauces.
Families save all year to purchase a ram for the celebration. In the weeks leading up to the holiday, traders bring hundreds of thousands of sheep to Senegal from Mali and Mauritania and corral them in pens in Dakar and other cities. In CREATE!’s partner communities, women will sell off their poultry, VSLAs will do financial share-outs, and vegetables will be harvested for the feast. In addition, gifts are exchanged between family and friends, and people have new clothes made to wear for their dances and celebrations.
To our field staff and all CREATE! community members: tabaski mubarak!