Monday, October 29, 2012

Morocco: The Eid

I'm back from a wonderful and intense trip to Morocco, and to start off I thought I'd post some drawings I did of the preparation for the Eid al-Adha which took place this Friday (Eid Mubarak!). The Eid is a major Islamic holiday that celebrates the story of Abraham and his willingness to sacrifice his son to God. In response to Abraham and his son Ishmael's willingness, he gave Abraham a ram to sacrifice in his son's place, and so Muslim people sacrifice an animal for their family as a celebration and remembrance of that sacrifice.

All throughout the trip we saw little glimmers of the coming holy day's approach: On bus rides we passed shepherds tending their flocks by the side of the road and trucks full of sheep being shuttled to town, and shopkeepers were more willing to give a good price to a blonde-haired, blue-eyed tourist to get a little extra money to buy a sheep. By the time we reached Fes near the end of our trip, the preparations were in full swing.

Outside the medina, sheep grazed in a nearby stable, chomping away and stumbling into each other, oblivious to their impending fate.

Families came to look at the sheep, and sometimes to select one for purchase.

Then came the parade of sheep down the tiny, maze-like alleyways of the medina. Sometimes they were rolled down the streets in carts, but often men picked up the hind legs and wheelbarrow-ed unruly rams down the hill, while children laughed and pulled their tails.

It was exciting to be able to see a part of Moroccan culture that tourists are not really a part of. The Moroccan/Tourist barrier sort of broke down when people talked about the Eid, and I got more of a feeling of what people were like outside the tourist industry. Little kids were just as excited to see the sheep as I was, and sat around watching me draw in the stable. Although the traditions and symbolism are different, the energy felt very much like the approach to Christmas with people shopping for last minute gifts, picking out the perfect Christmas tree, and the buzzing excitement of the coming celebration with family.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Today I leave for Morocco, and it will be three weeks of new sights, sounds, smells, and tastes. There will be a lot of drawing to come, but first here is a thumbnail I did imagining our camel ride through the Sahara.

'Till I return!