I spent my first Christmas in The Gambia with my wonderful Peace Corps family.
Every day for the past 30 days, we have only eaten rice and fish. Actually, fish only comes on the lucky days; sometimes, it’s only rice and leaves. As the days of rice and leaves and fish drug on, I tried to think of each meal as one closer to the day we would eat meat. The night before felt like Christmas Eve as I anxiously awaited “The Sacrifice.”
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.
The neighbors called out and soon the little path outside my family’s compound was full of townspeople and buzzing with excitement as everyone searched for the moon. Through the pink clouds in the evening sky, a faint hairline of the moon shone through, a sign that the month of fasting could finally end.