Eid in the village
…………On Monday Morning I wake in my Dar to the shouting and singing of men – only after descending down to the street do I realise that it is The fantasia Men on horseback wearing traditional costume riding through the town. Islam has a strong connection with horses, adding to the festivities. Another day enjoying Fez.
Not long after I find myself in a little village just outside Moulay and Fez with the Moroccan family that have adopted me and taken me in for their Eid celebrations. My Moroccan is still at only a few words that I’m getting comfortable with so I am glad one of the members of the family can converse in French.
Wednesday arrives. I am taken to see the animals on the farm including the sheep which is shown off with pride which certainly feels a little bewildered and confused with its surroundings.
I have to keep reminding myself that the slaughter of animals is an everyday occurrence here, it’s part of the culture. In the west we eat meat but never give a second thought to how that meat ended up on our plate – maybe it is something we should think about. Here animals serve people for food, clothing and every part of it is used. Absolutely none of it wasted. Ironically animals are not thought of in the same way as humans but as the meat was being barbequed I was told that this sheep will go to heaven as it gave up its life. An interesting point of view. So they do believe animals have souls, for me however it raises a lot of questions for my beliefs in what is right for me and what is not.
I just had to thank it as I do for offering its life to this family.
Mum makes a traditional breakfast of wonderful pancakes (msemen and meloui) with homemade butter and local honey – Followed with Moroccan Green tea laced with mint leaves and plenty of sugar. And then we wait till the King slays his sheep. I keep my mind entertained. We chat, drink more tea, and I keep trying not to think. I start to converse with the young bride whilst I learn Moroccan and she learns some words in English, and it creates laughter. And as I try to keep the slaughter out of my mind – the “grim reaper “arrives, clad in a plastic white jelalabab covered from head to foot bearing a knife, I knew it was time to go in – this was one thing I was not ready to experience.
And so the celebrations could begin. As with any Moroccan Family especially for the females of the family the whole focus is food and though in this family I was privaledge to be invited to, the food was simple as in most villages, with plenty of meat bread and salad.
During the first day entrails are cooked, maybe not a pleasant thought for us westerners as we are also taught to be careful of eating entrails but its no different than the tripe we used to eat.
So lunchtime soon arrives where skewered liver kebabs wrapped with stomach fat to prevent it burning on the barbeque served with bread and salad.
As morning wore on, friends and family began arriving at the house to wish everyone ‘ Eid Mobarrak Said’ Happy Eid. One nephew brought some stuffed liver his mother had cooked, Very tasty but rather hot, yes by now I was getting used to meat here – no use disliking it when I had already decided to eat it.
As the day wore a host of children arrived. So polite and friendly coming up to every adult and greeting them with a hand shake and kisses on the cheek – yes even me whom they had no idea who I was. More friends and family arrive sharing copious amounts of tea whilst the women gossip with the women and men talk their own business. So the house is constantly full of people coming and going sharing food and drink.
The evening arrives and it was time to eat again –a stew made from the entrails,’tualia’ or ‘douara’ nothing is left behind and the brain and tongue Being the most important meat of the head, stomach, spleen, and intestine. Although it sounds disgusting it just really tasted of liver and it was so similar to the food I ate whilst living in Greece at Easter time. A delicacy probably needing an acquired taste.
The following day more meat was presented at each meal – steamed meat with vegetables, or lamb tagine with prunes, almonds quince and all served with the traditional Moroccan salad and bread. Phew did I get my fill of meat but one thing said for it it definatly feels and tastes cleaner and lighter – I was also surprised how tender it was as the meat was not hung but cut up the same day.
Well by now I had had my fill of meat – from not eating any to most of my diet being meat for 2 days and surprisingly my stomach did not suffer as it does in the UK.
And all that’s left after the celebrations is the sheep skin that is hung out to dry before it goes to the tannery, and the wool removed to make wool for clothing.
Well it was time to go back to my little home in Moulay ready for my next adventure – but not before I get some more book writing done.