The Festival of Eid Al Azha is held every year on the 10th of the Islamic month of Zil hajj.
Zill Hajj is the 12th month of the lunar Islamic calendar. This is the last month of the Islamic year, and the annual Hajj Pilgrimage to Makkah is performed.
The Eid Al Azha festival marks the end of Hajj, and is a means of thanks giving and community relations. It is celebrated by Muslims all over the world. In Muslim countries, usually Protected content public holidays are given for the occasion.
Early in the morning, people go to Mosques to offer Eid prayers and wear new clothes and apply perfume. Eid prayers are held in local mosques as well as parks and open spaces.
They also meet family, friends, neighbours and exchange greetings.
One activity that happens during this festival is the slaughter of animals, which is done as a religious duty. Meat from these animals is distributed to the poor, to one's neighbours as well as friends and family.
In Pakistan, this activity however can pose some challenges given the poor local government administration and lack of laws on public health and safety.
Expatriates not used to living in such an unregulated health & hygiene environment can find public slaughter of animals to be quite disturbing.
If this is your first time to witness the Festival of Eid Al Azha then you can expect to see:
1. Slaughter of cows, camels and goats etc in the streets.
2. Animal guts and gore.
3. Killing of Animals.
4. In Karachi , the local government of various towns do take measures to ensure that streets are kept clean, however it is not done to perfection so one can expect to see a bloody mess.
5. Also there is no law to curb the practice of slaughter of animals at homes and many people tend to bring animals within their residential premises and call butchers to slaughter them.
If you are a visitor to such a home, then be warned that you can expect to witness an animal slaughter.
6. Muslim families tend to have large family dinners at Eid Al Azha where the sacrificial meat is served as the main item of food. So if you are a vegetarian, let your hosts know about this.
7. You should expect lunch at one home, then dinner at another. This rotates for about 3 to 4 days, and can pose problems for your digestive system.
8. Food that will be served at your Pakistani friends parties will be almost 100% spicy.
9. Some people in Karachi are of the [erroneous] view that slaughtered meat tastes best when cooked *unwashed*. They do not bother to remove any impurities and throw the meat straight into the cooker. This can have drastic effects you *must* inquire from your hosts if the meat has been washed or not before eating.
10.If you do visit people's homes at times apart from dinner and lunch you are almost certainly to be offered a wide variety of special sweet and savoury food, which you might not be accustomed to and can cause indigestion and heart burn.
Hospitals tend to have a full house during this period due to the afore mentioned.
However within a week or so of the event, roads are cleaned, the festivities finish and everything comes back to normal.
Careful and cautious eating during and attention to detail will save you and make Eid an enjoyable family event.