Eid el Kebir in Fes

It’s not the silence of the lambs… but the cry. I can hear them. And the sheep. And the goats. All over Fes (Fez), kids and elders are taking them home on handcarts, motos, or simply pulling them with a rope. They are happy because tomorrow is Eid El kebir, one of the most important festivals in the Muslim world. Andevery family is eagerly waiting with knives and forks for their bleating guests


The “peoples of the book” celebrate Biblical Ibrahim’s (Abraham’s) loving willingness (hu?) to kill his son on demand from God. The happy twist came when the Almighty felt like proving he was better than that and gave him a lamb to slaughter instead.

Great for the boy. Not so for the ovines, as Muslims all over the World have on Eid el Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice) or Eid el Kabir (Great Feast) one of their most important festivities, a moment of the year when every family, rich or poor, must slit a sheep’s, lamb’s or goat’s throat, maybe a cow’s or whatever’s handy (even cats seem to quietly look for safer grounds just in case, for as you know, humans are nuts).

I came to Fes (Fez, in Morocco) on the holiday’s eve and that was too little time to make a wonderful acquaintance who’d gracefully invite me to join his/her relatives for the party. Boo. But here and in my previous days in Marrakech I could witness some of the general commotion (or rather, the animals commotion, as they might feel what’s going to happen): on the days before, people used every posible vehicle to take the lambs home, cars and motorcycles on the streets, handcarts and ropes in the narrow Medina alleyways.

On Eid el Kabir (Wednesday, 17 November, this year), the slaughter begins early and people joyfully fill their bellies. The skin is removed to be used in the really old fashioned tanneries (Fes’ leather is famed for its high quality, a result of techniques abandoned elsewhere for industrial production), and then the heads are given to the children and kids to remove their hair by roasting them. They take them to the streets, make fires, improvise grills on box springs, and the name of the game is roast your horned lamb head to play with it. Happy Eid!

See the photo album here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?fbid=470665338016&id=518893016&aid=246444&ref=mf

One response to “Eid el Kebir in Fes

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