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Eid - Sacrificing Bad Habits

As part of our Showing Love newsletter, Shuaib shares the significance of Eid for many Afghans...

Every year on 10th of Dhul Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic Calendar, Muslims around the world and in Afghanistan celebrate Eid-ul-Adha – the ‘Festival of Sacrifice’. We celebrate Ibrahim (Abraham in the Judeo-Christian tradition) as an example of great faith, having been willing to sacrifice his first son, Ishmael, on God’s command.

The first day of ‘Eid starts at 6:00 a.m. with Eid’s prayer. After that the Islamic cleric of the mosque, known as Mullah or Mawlawi gives the famous Khutba-e-Eid or Eid’s speech. The main message is to love each other and forgive each other’s mistakes.

After leaving the mosques, every family sacrifices the animal they have chosen for Eid and divides its meat into three parts. The first part goes to the poor and vulnerable, the second to neighbours and the final part is for the family themselves. This process takes about half of the day, and in the afternoon people start going to neighbours’ homes for Eid Mubaraki, to celebrate Eid.

There are also traditions, even if not strictly religious, which have persisted for centuries up to today. On this day, people sew new clothes for themselves, buy or cook cakes and cookies for their guests. Elders give handsel, good-luck gifts, to children, while newly engaged couples send Eidi to each other. A boy who is engaged might prepare different foods such as Jalebi, cookies, cakes and Shir-Pera as well as clothes, and go with his family to take the food and clothes to his fiancée’s home.

Yet Eid in Afghanistan’s culture is not only about ritual and tradition but is more about respecting and remembering each other, strengthening relationships and showing love to each other. The small acts of sharing food have always kept families and neighbours connected, resulting in an increased level of mutual respect and hospitality in Afghan society, while the tradition of sending Eidi is all about devoting time to the new relationship and strengthening it.

Eid-ul-Adha is not only about sacrificing an animal for God’s satisfaction but it is mostly about sacrificing bad habits for better results, and ending unhealthy relationships to reconcile our souls.

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