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Eid El Kebir Celebration in Algeria

    Eid El Kebir or Eid El Adha (sheep's day or feast of the sacrifice) is one of the most important festivals of Islam. It is called Thafaska in Tamazight.  It takes place every year on the 10th of the month of Dhou El Hijja which is the last month of the Muslim calendar and the end of the pilgrimage (El Hajj). The day of celebration of Eid El-Kebir varies geographically depending on when the moon is observed, because the Muslim calendar does not allow knowing precisely, in advance, the days of celebration. This celebration commemorates the Prophet Abraham's willingness to offer his son Ishmael (Ismail) as a sacrifice to God who ordered him to sacrifice him. Ibrahim did not hesitate to sacrifice his son Ismail to show his submission to God, who then sent him a sacrificial sheep to spare him the sacrifice of his own son. Ibrahim is thus a model of the true believer for Muslims. He is also the first Muslim and one of the messengers of God. The message of the Prophet Muhammad returns to the traditions of Ibrahim that is why Muslims celebrate Eid El-Kebir every year.

  On this day, the elders of families sacrifice a sheep according to Muslim rites and share the meat with their families, friends and the poor. In other words, this festival, which is more than just a religious event, is an opportunity to bring together and meet with family, neighbours and friends around a good meal prepared with the sacrificial sheep meat. Above all, it is also synonymous with sharing and generosity towards the poor and the needy. 

  The Algerian government pays huge importance to this celebration .Thus, the national herd receives special attention from the public authorities, who make every effort to improve and develop the red meats sector. Among their initiatives and procedures, in each Eid, they announce the implementation of a comprehensive prevention and awareness program for livestock producers to protect livestock against various diseases throughout the year, accompanied by an intensive vaccination campaign. The public authorities deploy, in every year, veterinarians in slaughter sites and in various places of selling the livestock to monitor and respond to the needs and solicitations of citizens .Also, they assign veterinary teams to take samples of sheep heads and meat for analysis and control of the foods they serve. And most of all to ban the use of dietary supplements to fatten livestock by seasonal traders for profit cause this affect the quality of sheep meat and cause sicknesses to the individuals. Besides, the Prohibition of the anarchic sale of sheep in the Algerian streets, instead, they allocate specific sites for selling and the breeders should obtain authorization to sell their livestock.

 In order to respect hygiene and public health, the authorities are instructed to recover the carcasses and organs seized as well as the detritus (straw, horns, hooves and buzzard …) to landfill and incineration. 

The prices of sheep vary from one year to another, it depends on the cost of cattle feed. Thus, each family has to save money in order to be able to celebrate their Eid with a sheep.

  Unlike the festival of Aid El Sghir (the one that marks the end of Ramadan), the Algerian families do not prepare many cakes in Eid El Kbir, instead they prepare delicious plates from the meat of the sheep. The dishes which are prepared in this day differ from one family to another and from one region to another. In general, the first day is often reserved for cooking offal such as Kebda, Bouzellouf (head and the leg of the sheep) and Douara. On the second day the couscous is mostly honored; in my family we have a tradition of making the kabyle famous dish Taasbant or Tikerbabines which is made of semolina and vegetables with the sheep shoulders and a good couscous with vegetables and meat. In other families, they prepare Chakhchoukha and Trida or stuffed Osbane with sheep meat. On the third day is reserved for grilling: skewers, melfouf, steak or grilled chops and roasted meat in the oven served with various vegetables and salads. It is for sure that these dishes are always accompanied by good bread or several homemade.

In short, each family has its own way for celebrating this special day through specific and different dishes.

Eid El Kebir Celebration in Algeria (Written by ARAB Sabrina)

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