Coffles, hoofs and horns


Eid al Adha which literally means the feast of sacrifice is marked by Muslims around the globe in the month of Zulhijjah to commemorate the submissiveness of Abraham to the will of Allah (to sacrifice his son Ismail). This act of faith is practiced by the adherents of Islam.  On Saturday 9th July, marks the Eid al Adha for the year 2022.  We pray to witness it in good health.

The joy of childhood during this festive season will forever remain in our hearts. When we were kids, adorned in our innocence and curiosity, we took it upon ourselves to parade the neighborhood making a mental list of houses that have sacrificial animals. Just like examiners, we had our tailored marking scheme. We argued about the size of the animals and compared them to each other. We got fascinated with the length of their horns and the thickness of their hump with the angle at which they fell on the backs of the animals. We laughed and made fun of those with emaciated animals. You’ll be our laughingstock for the days ahead.

On this day we hardly had a restful sleep as we came home late, slept with eyes open and woke up early that day. On that day the rod is spared for coming home that late after playtime. Our parents understood our job which we cherished. We would go on to narrate our little expedition to anyone who cared to listen.  On the Eid day, we came out in our best clothes and moved to the Eid grounds and joined the adults to offer our Eid prayers. There was a norm of taking in ‘fan- yogo’, something we greatly enjoyed. The charitable families also shared candies and biscuits which we queued for with so much joy.

Leaving the Eid grounds was not the end of our day, if anything it got better. We knew where the largest animal was, we just headed towards wherever it was. A fascinating view was the ‘macho show’, a bull fight between a lad and the bull. You would see the youngsters showing their prowess in handling a bull and taking it into submission for slaughtering. It was exhilarating and it gave us the adrenaline rush. In our minds we pray the bull doesn’t break free and cause mayhem, but our young hearts refuse to accommodate that fear.

The perks of being a child, you dismiss all fears in you just by the strong will of the heart. Those who could stomach the sight of taking away the life of an animal stayed to watch till we heard the ‘Hrrrrrrrrr’ sound signifying that the animal is dead. It was now time for skinning the animal. We helped to hold up the feet and legs of the animal to make the skinning easy. An act we keenly observed for learning purposes and measuring how skilled the actor is.

Cleaning the guts of the slaughtered animals was when we would make funny faces to express what we felt about what came out from the guts. Albeit the adults continued with the cleaning. When the moment of meat sharing arrived, we happily took our share, the result of our hard work. We liked to keep some form of souvenirs, especially the horns. With broadened smiles, we dispersed to another location. At the end of the day, we would set up a fire and do whatever we thought we were doing to make the meat edible. We thank God for protecting us from food poisoning because that meat was never properly cooked.

Eid is different when you become an adult. You are no longer oblivious to the responsibilities it comes with. Your heart now accommodates fear, you would run away at the slightest show of resistance by the bull and come back when everything has been settled. You now have to provide the joy and happiness you once enjoyed as a child. You get the chance to be in the moment and enjoy the spirit of camaraderie, receiving or visiting family members to celebrate the festive day.

Coming Saturday, 9th July 2022, let us all adherents of the Islamic face show up colorfully in modesty and humility. Let’s smile to our kinsmen and neighbors as we receive them in our homes. Let us break bread with anyone who wants to break bread with us. It is our prayer that we witness more of Eid days in good health and wealth to continue creating priceless memories. Glad tidings from Shukura! Barka da Salla!!!


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