What is Tobaski?
As we gathered in the living room one night with the next Muslim holiday on the horizon, I turned to my family and asked: “What is Tobaski? What does it mean to you?”
“It’s like Christmas for you people,” my sister Hawa exclaimed with her signature laugh.
“It’s when we eat meat until our teeth get tired,” my sister Jainaba chimed in, barely able to contain her excitement. “And we get new clothes!”
“It’s expensive,” our father concluded with a grunt.
Tobaski, better known across the world as Eid al-Adha in Arabic which means “Festival of the Sacrifice,” commemorates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his only son at God’s command. However, God intervened and provided him a lamb to kill instead, according to scripture. The holiday is in the final month of the Islamic lunar calendar and lasts for three days while Muslims symbolically sacrifice sheep and share with family and friends.
In practice, Tobaski is indeed a lot like a Muslim Christmas: everyone eats meat, gets new clothes and therefore, it is quite expensive.