Eid-al-Adha, also called Tabaski in Mali, is a Muslim festival celebrating Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his covenant son Ishmael (instead of Isaac in the Bible’s account). The date for this festival is chosen according to a lunar calendar, so the day changes each year. This year, it began at sunset on Thursday, August 31.
Eid-al-Adha is the most popular holiday among the Muslim Malinke people, and the celebration lasts four days. Many people travel to their place of birth to celebrate with their families. The days leading up to this festival are very busy. Many people spend all their savings for the year or even borrow money to buy a sheep so they can perform the traditional sacrifice. The markets are packed with sheep, festival clothing and food for sale. Prices are doubled, but everyone is well-fed and well-dressed during these Muslim high days. They attend prayers at the mosque, even if they haven’t attended all year. Traffic jams linger late into the night, and people stand in long lines for public transportation.
The father of every Muslim family must offer a sheep as a sacrifice whether they can afford to or not. After the sheep is slaughtered, people often skin the animal by using pumps to blow air under the skin through cuts on the legs, inflating the carcass like a balloon. Women cook the meat and prepare a big meal for the family, neighbors and poor people in the community, providing for the needy and cementing friendships. Artisans use the horns and skins to make crafts and leather goods.
The father of the family will pronounce a long blessing on friends and neighbors, asking forgiveness for any offense. Elders gather in circles drinking tea and eating roasted meat to celebrate and solidify their relationships.
In their new festival clothes, the children go out on the streets and greet people, expecting small gifts of money. Young men and women dress up, get fancy hairstyles and go to nightclubs. Some people take part in a traditional dance. Elderly women decorate their hands and feet with henna.
Please pray for our Muslim Malinke brothers and sisters that they will come to know Jesus as the Lamb of God who came to restore the lost kingdom. Only His blood can cleanse us from our sins.