Sacrificing Sheep at Eid Ul Adha, Muslim Festival – Kashmir

I was invited by Latif to be with him and his family during the Muslim festival:  Eid Ul Adha. If you know me a little already you know I couldn’t say no to such an invitation.

Muslim Festival Eid Ul Adha, Srinagar - Kashmir

I went, with my dad, to Srinagar when we were in India for a 3 week journey. Latif had arrange our stay and the trip to and from Delhi for us.  When we arrived I saw immediatly that there was a lot of army and police visible in the streets. I wrote about the safety in Kashmir in this post.

Eid Ul Adha - Srinagar, Dal Lake

The days that we were in Srinagar we stayed on a houseboat on the Dal Lake. It’s a great location!! The Dal Lake is situated in between mountains and seem to be the centre of tourism in Kashmir. There are hundreds of boats on the lake and many of them are hotels. 

Muslim Festival : Eid Ul Adha

On our third day here it was the day of the Festival: Eid Ul Adha. We had seen sheep all week, in cars on the streets, people walking with them to their house. We even saw them going by on boats in front of our houseboat. That morning I was asking myself if I wanted to see this? At home I didn’t really thought about it but now, when it got so real… I don’t want to see an animal getting slaughtered..

Driving Srinagar, Muslim Festival Eid Ul Adha

We were picked up by a muslim man dressed in white, a dress as you see the Muslim men wearing when going for a prayer to the Mosque. He was wearing a cap on his head too. Real traditional Muslim wear. We went over the Dal Lake and got to the car where Latif was waiting for us, also in traditional Muslim wear. They all looked very nice and clean in their crispy white linnen!! After an half an hour drive we arrived in a suburb and Latif parked his car. We walked on because the streets were too narrow, I saw a sign which stated the names of the families living in this street. The street had high walls and all the gates were closed, I couldn’t see any houses unfortunately. The street was empty and at some point a gate was open and we went in.

Eid Ul Adha - Srinagar, Dal Lake
I immediatly saw two sheep. They were going to be slaughtered in a minute. I didn’t want to spend to much time on my thought and went on. I was introduced to Haseena, the lovely wife of Latif. A beautiful Indian woman with a sweet smile on her face. When I went inside the house with here she gave me a big hug and she laughed. She could hardly speak any English but she offered me a cup of chai and we sat there for a minute.

Eid Ul Adha Festival – Srinagar, India

I saw rugs on the floor in the livingroom, there is no furnitue. At the wall there are cushions that situate the positions where you can sit. After a sip of my chai and thanking Haseena for the delicious chai she stood up and walked out. I was in the livingroom alone and started to look around me. The walls are brightly painted and the colours make the almost empty room feel completely furnitured. I saw a display in the wall, there are statues and pictures in there. Mostly all family items, great!

When I went outside again I saw the children of Latif, he has three sons, Owais, Wahid and Huzaif. They were all dressed in new clothes for the festivity. Huzaif was riding his bike up and down the lane and Huzaif, being the oldest was keeping an eye on everything. He was near the sheep and made sure everything was ready and good to go later on in the morning. Wahid liked my photocamera and was playing with that for a while 🙂

Eid Ul Adha - Srinagar, Dal Lake

Sacrificing the sheep – Eid Ul Adha

Two men arrived and they were introduced to the family and immediatly went to work. They were hired for the slaughtering, Latif told me, they are proffesionals. One of the sheep was taken to the back of the house. I saw a watertap and a drain over there. The waterbasin was filled with fresh water and the sheep was situated next to it. Before I could process what I saw the sheep was layed down and the man holding the sharp knife had slight the throat of the sheep together with Latif. They were holding the knife together so the act was done good by the professional and also by the hand of Latif. I looked the other way, I didn’t expect to see it that quickly. But still I was curious…and did turn my head again. I didn’t see the sheep moving anymore but I did see lot of blood floating into the drain next to it. It was over. The first sheep was sacrificed. I saw Latif standing there and I saw that he had a proud look on his face.

Eid Ul Adha - Srinagar, Dal Lake
There are many families that can not buy sheep. They can not offer anything. So when you can offer it’s an honour. Latif explaines to me that when they have cut the meat they will split it in three ways. One part goes to them, one part is for family and friends and the third part goes to the poor. First we will eat a part that Haseena would prepare in a festive way and after we will deliver the meat to the different people. My dad and I decide that we were going with them to traditionally share the meat of the sacrificed sheep with the family and friends.

Eid Ul Adha - Srinagar, Dal Lake
Once the sheep is cleaned by the professional slaughters and parted it was brought into the house. Everyone was helping with the parting and putting it in buckets and baskets. It is quite a lot, a whole sheep. Inside the house they placed a cloth on the floor where the slaughter took place behind a big piece of wood where he started to chop the meet into smaller pieces. Haseena was there to divide to parts over the various baskets.

Eid Ul Adha - Srinagar, Dal Lake
A minute later Haseena is outside again. I was there just in time to see that she too, with the professional slaughter, slaughtered the second sheep. She immediatly walks away from the scene but while doing that I see that same pride in her face that I saw with Latif. It is an hour to be able to do this. Lots of the meat is going to family and to poor in the city. She is also very happy that they can afford it and can share their offer.

Eid Ul Adha - Srinagar, Dal LakeDividing the Meat – Eid Ul Adha

In the livingroom the meat is being divided in the three parts. Haseena and Latif are writing the names of family and friends on paper. Their sons are helping to stick it on the parts of meat that are meant for the people on the papers.

Eid Ul Adha - Srinagar, Dal Lake

Eid Ul Adha - Srinagar, Dal Lake

Festive lunch on the ground  – Eid Ul Adha

Eid Ul Adha - Srinagar, Dal LakeThe festive Lunch prepared by Haseena tasted great!
More fresh then this is not possible!!

After a great festive meal on the floor of the livingroom made by Haseena we get in the small car of Latif. It was great driving through the streets of Srinagar, getting out at different suburbs to deliver meat at family or relatives. Wahid had the basket full of meat on his lap and at each adress the pieces are carefully examined to see for who it was meant. The papers are getting really soft and hard to read but in the end everything was delivered.

Eid Ul Adha - Srinagar, Dal Lake
These are the Selfies I love!
Later on I saw the man in the background…he is walking with sheep skin.

During our drive we got to the sister of Latif where we went inside to drink a cup of chai! A part of the meat was ofcourse given to her also. We sat on the kitchenfloor and enjoyed a festive tea with cookies and other sweets.

Everything is colouful, even this beautiful ram!

Eid Ul Adha - Srinagar, Dal LakeThe ram of the sister of Latif. Doessn’t he look great?

Eid Ul Adha - Srinagar, Dal LakeSister of Latif is making Chai for us in her kitchen

Background information Eid Ul Adha

Later I searched the internet on this festival and foudn that it honors the willingness of Abraham (Ibrahim) to sacrifice his son, as an act of submission to God’s command. When he wanted to sacrifice his son the knife didn’t cut. And then a voice of an angel sounded and stated that he could sacrifice a lamb in stead of his son.

Do you want to read more about my India travels?

One Colourful Street in Chennai

The Highlights of Cochin – Kerala

Safe Travel in Kashmir?

The Morning Rituals At Varanasi – India