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  • Writer's pictureSaid Ait Bajja

All You Need To Know When Traveling To Morocco During Eid

Said Ait Bajja making Eid food Boulfaf at Ouarzazate Morocco

Eid is one of the biggest festivals in the world because Islam is the second biggest religion. As a Muslim country, Moroccans join approximately 2 billion Muslims worldwide in celebrating Eid. Since Morocco is a tourism country, sometimes tourists visit Morocco during Eid. This guide will help you understand Eid, the Eid celebrations, the pros and cons of traveling during Eid, and how Pandemic affects the Eid celebration.

What actually is the Eid event and why is it celebrated?

The Eid festivals can be confusing for some people since, in Islam, there are two types of Eid events:

  • Eid-ul-Fitr

  • Eid-ul-Adha

Eid-ul-Fitr is celebrated after a whole Islamic month of fasting called Ramadan, while Eid-ul-Adha- the Festival of Sacrifice is celebrated to commemorate the event of when the prophet Abraham was willing to sacrifice his greatest treasure: his son to God.

According to the event that was written in the holy books, as soon as Abraham was near to start the holy sacrifice of his son, God sent a lamb to take young Ismail’s place and was sacrificed in his stead. This is why people sacrifice sheep or goats during the season of Eid-ul-Adha.

Both Eids are on different days each year based on the Islamic lunar calendar. Eid-ul-Adha is celebrated a little over 2 months after the celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr. This year 2020, the Eid-ul-Adha festival is on July 31.

How do Moroccans celebrate Eid?:

Visit mosques

Moroccans celebrate their Eid by visiting the various mosques across the country. They attend communal prayers and listen to a khutba at mosques. There are over 52,000 mosques in Morocco. The most famous mosques include the Hassan II mosque in Casablanca, the Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakesh, the University of al-Qarawiyyin’s mosque in Fes, and the Great Mosque of Taza.

Sacrifice animals

The main part of Eid-ul Adha is sacrificial of animals. People usually sacrifice their four legs animals most times sheep, sometimes goats, cows, and camels to God to celebrate this festive day. After the sacrifice, people usually divide their meat into three equal pieces: one for family & neighbors, one for the needy and the final piece for themselves.

Eat delicious foods with family

In contrast to “sweet Eid” for Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-ul Adha is called “ salty Eid”. The main foods are meat-rich dishes made from sacrificed animals. All the parts of the animals will not be wasted. All the edible parts are cooked to different types of dishes. The skin will be sold to leather tanneries. Here are a few examples of special Eid dishes:

Moroccan Eid food Boulfaf.

  1. Boulfaf: It is grilled liver pieces on skewers. The sheep liver or lung is cut into small cubes and wrapped by a layer of fat. Then 5-6 pieces were put on skewers as regular Kabab. Red chili pepper, cumin, and salt are added for flavor when barbecued. It is the first meal that Moroccans eat on the day of Eid, right after the sacrifice. It is customary to serve barbecues with bread and tea.

  2. Takliya: It is also called Lkarcha or Dwara. The internal organs like the liver, lung, kidney, heart, etc are washed well before they are boiled in water to get rid of the smell. Then add the tomatoes, olive, garlic, red chili, ginger, black pepper and other spices to cook it. Takliya is often served on the second day of Eid.

  3. Lahm ras: It is one of the favorite foods for many Moroccans. The sheep’s head is cleaned and dehorned. It can be cooked in different ways. Some families will put it on the open fire to roast it. It brings a delicious original taste. The others will use it as the floor of the couscous. It is considered one of the most delicious meals.

  4. Kirdas: It is also called tikredassine. In Tamazight, it is an Amazigh dish with distinction, and it spreads especially in the southeastern region of Morocco. The bowels of sheep or sometimes goats are seasoned with mixed spices. Then they are attached to a rope and left open-air to dry before cooking (see picture below).

  5. Al-Kara’in: It is known in other areas by Allawari, and it is a dish of the leg of the lamb cooked with spices, garlic, oil, water and chickpeas. Now, this dish is not only served for Eid al-Adha, but also at other non-festival time.

Time of greeting and celebrating

Eid-ul-Adha is a time for Moroccans to greet each other and share a cheerful spirit. They wear new clothes, visit family members or relatives, congrats on each other. Eid is also a time to help poor people. People especially love to give money to the poor during this holiday. The head of each family is obligated to donate the leftover food and sacrificial food to the needy. For children, it is the time filled with joy since the tradition in Morocco is to buy new clothes, toys, or giving money to children.

What is the impact of Eid holiday on travel in general?

There are pros and cons when traveling to Morocco during this time. The fun part is that you have the opportunity to see, to experience this one of the most important festivals in Morocco. You get a chance to taste some traditional special Eid food like Lahm ras. Or if you are lucky, you may be invited to spend a typical Eid day with a Moroccan family. You will feel the joys of the festival. The downside is that flight tickets can be more expensive since many people travel during this time. Many Moroccans living abroad come back to celebrate EId-ul-Adha with their family. In addition, traffic is often congested since there are many people on the road.

Eid-ul-Adha celebration in 2020

Coronavirus Pandemic has significantly changed the way we live. It affects how Moroccans celebrate the Eid festival in many ways.

Morocco King Mohammed VI performing Eid prayers at palace. By Safaa Kasraoui

Because the coronavirus is so contagious, Morocco’s Ministry of Islamic Affairs has officially restricted the prayers in mosques during Eid-ul Adha. The country is adhering to the laws and medical precautions. Praying at home is recommended by the government. Even though they did open up to 5,000 mosques on July 15, it is much less compared to the total number of mosques in the country which is more than 52,000. When participating in public sermons in mosques, the precaution methods such as masks and social distance are required.

It is a tradition for Moroccans living abroad to come back and celebrate the Eid with their families. Although the government allowed Moroccans abroad or residents to travel to Morocco since July 15, 2020, many Moroccans choose not to come back to their home country concerning lockdown again. Many families celebrate Eid without their family members abroad.

Moroccans also spend less money on EId this year. Morocco is a tourism country and many people work in the tourism field. International tourism is completely paused since March 2020 including our agency - Sahara Sky Tours. Many Moroccans are financially strained because of the loss of tourism income.

In 2020, Eid-ul-Adha is celebrated so differently in our country as well as the world. However, no matter the difference, the fundamental spirit is still the same-cherishing sacrifice; sharing kindness and generosity. Hope the Pandemic will finish soon and we can enjoy our life and travel as before once again!

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