So yesterday it was Idul Adah – the Muslim Day of Sacrifice – here in Indonesia and a public holiday.
For the last week or so, I’ve seen dozens of goats, sheep and cows tied up at the side of the road on my way home from work. I now realise that they have probably all been slaughtered in honour of this festival. Luckily I’m not a squeamish person (and I am a meat-eater after all) so the idea that I won’t see them on Monday, doesn’t really phase me.
During this festival, many Muslims make a special effort to pray and listen to a sermon at a mosque. They also visit family members and friends and may symbolically sacrifice an animal in an act known as qurbani. These animals are known as udhiya and many families purchase a carcass to share out among their extended family.
Around this time, it is also traditional for many Muslims to travel to Mecca to perform the Hajj pilgrimage. A couple of my students told me that their grandparents were intending to go in the next few days.
I remember seeing some Hajj pilgrims at Jakarta airport when I was heading off for a trip last year. Most groups book through travel agents and as part of the package they receive clothing to wear. I remember being surprised at the differences in outfits – some were simple, cotton trousers and tops, while others were multi-coloured, branded affairs.
The call to prayer seems to happen more often during a festival and my local mosque has a particularly loud microphone. It’s annoying to be woken up in the middle of the night but at the same time, there is something ancient and mysterious about hearing a voice singing in the dark, calling people to prayer. One definite upside is the fireworks they let off during the celebration, which I can watch from my apartment.
Categories: Just Plain Blog