I know. I know. We’re back on religion again. I just can’t help it. Peoples’ spiritual rituals are a draw for me. That, and we seem to go exploring on Sundays.
Sunday in Jakarta, in Indonesia and in the Muslim world was Idul Adha or “Day of Sacrifice” commemorating the Abraham’s almost-sacrifice of his son Ishmael to God. God told Abraham to sacrifice his son and Abraham being God-fearing, hauled Ishmael down to the altar and was about ready to do the act when he looked down and saw a ram there instead. God was pleased and Abraham passed the test. There were promises of a great nation coming from his son.
I recalled from Sunday school that it was Abraham’s son, Isaac who was to be sacrificed. The story is pretty near the same except for the name of the kid. Biblical scholars out there please correct me, but this seems to be one of the initial points of contention that people have been fighting about for all of recorded time.
I might seriously offend if I delved too far down in this story and discussed the tawdry, soap-opera-ness of the whole Abraham story, so I won’t. But look it up in the Quran, or Torah or Genesis or… like me…, Wikipedia here and here
So, yes… Day of Sacrifice. It is the second biggest holiday in Muslim Calendar after the end of Ramadan. The holiday calls for the sacrifice of of a cow or a goat or, sometimes, a sheep. This is all done at the local mosques. All of them.
If you can afford, you buy a goat or cow take it down to the mosque where they’ve erected long racks. The animals are pointed toward Mecca, sacrificed and then strung up and cleaned. People can keep a third of the kill for themselves, give a third to families and donate a third to the poor. I’m told the Indonesian mosques have a pretty organized system for meat distribution and it is not a free-for-all holiday as it is in some countries.
I woke on Sunday to a rocking Prayer call. They must have put up extra speakers in the minarets and called in all the best singers, because the city was absolutely humming all morning instead of just for a few minutes.
Went for a morning run. Traffic was nil and crowds were all gathering in their sacrificial finery all all the mosques around me. I’m convinced that, like America, there are the devout folks and the Christmas and Easter folks. I know this because while running I was stopped by two Muslim women who asked me where the Mosque was.
First, the sweaty guy in the bright sneakers is probably not the pious town crier rounding up the prayerful, and second,.. don’t you hear that music, woman?
So, all the goats and cows that had been growing in numbers throughout the city the past few weeks were sacrificed. Our maid went to the Mosque, but was “too scared to watch.” Our driver was a helper and he helped dispatch 22 cows and 48 goats at their mosque alone.
Worldwide, I read that around 100 million animals are killed on this day alone. So, if you woke up and felt something it was a “disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced.”