In between the donning of new apparel, the slaughtering the cow, the smoking of the hide, head and limbs and the visiting of relatives, I have barely had time to sit down and pen anything on this great day. This day celebrated by a billion or so people who face the black rectangular edifice five times every day, or as they are supposed to. I have been encumbered with the roles of a butcher, an errand boy and the friend everyone suddenly remembers over the past 36 hours.
Eid is a time to remember a phenomenal point in Abrahamic history. It is a time to symbolize Abraham’s resolve to be obedient to his Lord by willingly offering to offer his son Ishmael as sacrifice, only to be rewarded for his complete faith in God and offering a ram in Ishmael’s stead. It is a time heralding the end of Hajj rites. A time to remember our beloved Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) last sermon at Arfah.
Eid is also a time for merrymaking, albeit in a halal manner. It is a time filled with euphoria, hope and the following things
- “BARKA DA SALLA” IN A FUNNY ACCENT: Barka Da Sallah is the Hausa equivalent of “Eid Mubarak”. It has become the most widely used salutation in a country where Hausa is not considered a native language. The commonality of Hausa in almost every single Muslim community in Ghana is itself an interesting issue worthy of further probing. The most intriguing part of this is the hilarious ways non-Muslims say the word. “Balika da Sanla” ! Given their affinity to switch the letter “R” with “L”, I guess it is safe to blame this corruption of the word on the people of the land of Otumfuo.
- The Tailors who “steal” Eid: Eid is a time to flaunt new clothes. This even pre-dates our time all the way back to the era of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) when he commanded his companions to look clean and fresh for Eid. So looking “Islamically” dapper at this time is almost a must. And with this comes the heaps of Lace, African print and shadda mounting on the work tables of tailors. Already notorious for their delay in delivering work, the notoriety of tailors worsens around this time. They take orders upon orders from ecstatic customers who are ready to pay top dollar to look “fly” on Eid day only to give long tales and generic excuses when it is time to collect the dresses. Almost every Muslim in Ghana has fallen victim to this phenomenon of being left “Dressless” for Eid. The Dumsor situation has only made their lies more convenient.
- “Where is my meat” becomes a greeting: Now sometimes people ask you for their meat jokingly. It is used as an ice breaker and conversation starter. However, there are the petulant bunch who will not relent in asking you for meat. Meet them in class, “Where is my meat”. In a line buying KFC, “Where is my meat”. Or even at the butcher’s shop, it is still “Where is my meat”. Funny enough, these folks disappear into thin air when Christmas and Easter comes around.
- Yoghurt after Eid prayers: As someone who takes money from his mother anytime he goes home for the weekends, I cling on to anything which takes me back to my childhood. So grabbing a Fan Yoghurt snack immediately the prayers are over is one of my timely honored traditions. Yoghurt was a luxury back when we were kids and so we savored every drip of it when Eid came around. Today it is not but I still take every sip one at a time, remembering back when I used to rock my Will Smith like sunglasses, petite sized tuxedo and shiny shoes to the Eid grounds.
- The “Allah ya saa mun yi awurey kaafin saabon sheykara” prayer: I know I had you looking confused after reading the subheading. Well it simply means “May Allah make us among the married ones before the year ends”. This is my favorite prayer! The life of hopeless romantics like myself is a manifestation of this prayer. I just love it when the old folks keeping repeating this prayer whenever I go around visiting them.
And then there are the binge eating of meat to the point where meat looks disgusting the following morning and a host of other Eidish things only people from Zongo will appreciate!