‘Tomorrow there is a holiday. A big feast and people will gather to pray.’
Growing up in a secular household and not attending any religious rituals whatsoever besides on Christmas sometimes, my curiosity in local life and the way of celebration was larger than the lack of knowledge on Islamic holidays. I went and I didn’t regret it a single second.
By knowing some of the stories of the old Testament that Islam and Christianity share, it wasn’t too hard to sort this one in.
Abraham showed his love to God/Allah/Yahweh by the willingness to sacrifice his son. So far so good. Jews and Muslims don’t agree which son it was. Jews say it was Isaac, the Muslims believe it was his older son Ishmael.
In any case god tested Abraham’s faith and was pleased with his obedience. Therefore he send him a lamb down from heaven to kill instead of his son.
That’s also better because eating a lamb is more fun than cutting your own kids throat.
When I woke up in the morning I was confused by the silence. Normally the music is on at 7 am and people are all over the place yelling and honking and cooking and fighting.
I stood up quickly and rushed down the road.
On the football field between Atomic Road and UN hundreds of people gathered in the morning.
Dressed in the finest gowns with colorful ornaments and polished shoes, people came in from all over the world.
And how it is with the returning diaspora, they show why they migrated: big cars, clumsy watches, fat rings and the latest electronic accessories ranging from iPads and iPhones over DSLR cameras to iPods and such devices.
I wonder if they’d be still willing to share 2/3 with the poor and the needy as it is the tradition at the Eid.
Reciting the Takbir, a large group of young men gathered behind a man who i found out later was a famous Imam in Ghana.
Their singing interrupted with the general prayers who have been ongoing for the last 15 minutes. Nevertheless they continued to sing the following words until they reached their places and sat down next to the other guests.
Allāhu akbar, Allāhu akbar
lā ilāha illā Allāh
Allāhu akbar, Allāhu akbar
Alongside the field you could see people selling Fanyogurt, coconuts or other small things to eat, waiting for the prayers to end.
Although being Christian, they seem to be very amused and quite interested in the happening.
Nobody said anything about me and my camera. I was even asked why I was just standing aside and using my tele, rather than going inside taking close range pictures. Saying that I do it out of respect and lack of connection to the community made sense after all.
After the prayers I connected with some locals who invited me to the slaughtering of a bull.
The ‘feast of the sacrifice’ became a tangible thing…