Eid-ul-Azha is the second Eid or celebratory religious festival in Islam. It is commonly called ‘Bakra Eid’ or ‘Bari Eid’ in Pakistan. Unlike Eid-ul-Fitr, this Eid does not fall on the first day of the lunar month. Instead, it is celebrated on the 10th day of Zil-hajj, which is the last month of the Islamic calendar. Bakra Eid is most famous for the sacrifice of cattle, goats and camel, which is a religious obligation on all adult Muslims with the economic means to buy a healthy animal for sacrifice. Since it is such a big religious event, there are some sights that are commonly observed during it. Here we have a list of the typical things everyone does on Bakra Eid .
- Mandi mein khwari ( a.k.a. search for the elusive mythical cow)
So this is where the preparation for Bakra Eid starts. Before every Bakra Eid, several huge mandis or animal markets spring up in every major town and city. All the goat, camel and cattle owners set up stalls here. Basically everyone who wants to sacrifice an animal has to head to a mandi and look for an animal that has all the specified requirements and also falls within their budget. Such animals are only found after hours, and sometimes even days of searching and bargaining.
- Celebrate the arrival of the chief guest (cow/goat/camel)
After what seems like an eternity of searching and haggling, the boys/men of the family return with their prize possession in a rented truck or any other cargo vehicle. Sometimes they even opt to bring it via rickshaw or car, depending upon the animal’s size. The appearance of the animal is accompanied by cheering of kids from the neighborhood.
- Bakra beautification and selfie
Once the animal arrives, all members of the family do their utmost to feed it and take care of its health and comfort. Special fodder is bought to feed the beloved animal. One typical Pakistani thing is the lengths people go to decorate their animals. Road-side stalls selling jewelry for animals become quite common during Bakra Eid season. People buy all types of ornaments things and put them on their animals to beautify them. Some people also take selfies with their animals after this ornamentation and upload them on social media.
- Chase the runaway bull
This is another one of the most common sights before Bakra Eid. Almost every neighborhood has at least one house from where the sacrificial animal runs away. This mostly happens when the animal is getting off from whichever vehicle was used to transport it from the mandi. The running away of an animal is a thrilling thing for the children and youth in the area. Sometimes, the animal is caught and brought back to the buyer’s home. Other times, however, the animal causes serious damage to itself or others while making its final escape successfully.
- Teri gaye VS meri gaye
“My cow can run at the speed of 40 miles per hour”
“That’s nothing. My cow can run faster than Usain Bolt”
Every Bakra Eid brings out the competitive streak among neighbors, friends and relatives. There are frequent arguments about whose animal is the biggest, most expensive and most beautiful. Some folks even exaggerate their animal’s qualities to the point of making their animals sound like superheroes.
- The great cattle race
The kids and teenagers of the neighborhood sometime start an impromptu race while taking their sacrificial animals for a walk in the alleys and side roads of the locality.
- Make temporary roadside animal farms
People turn the streets, parks and basically any empty space into makeshift animal farms by pitching tents and tying their animals there. Hence the already congested streets and alleys become even harder to pass through … with the added thrill of not knowing when a runaway animal might come and trample you.
- The search for the butcher
Being a butcher becomes an even more lucrative profession than a doctor or chartered accountant during Bakra Eid. As per religious rules, the sacrifice has to be done within 3 days. So everyone is crunched for time. And since not everyone can sacrifice an animal and butcher it properly, professional butchers are in high demand in these days. The butchers exploit this opportunity to the most and charge outrageous amounts to perform the sacrifice. Even people who are not butchers but want to make a quick buck, pose as butchers to fool naïve people.
- Meat distribution trips
Once the sacrifice has been performed, the meat is divided into three equal portions: one for the family, one for the relatives and one for needy people. Since no one wants to hang on to excess meat, some family members are sent on a trip to distribute the meat among the relatives and the poor.
- Barbeque parties
Pakistanis are a meat-loving nation. We relish our kababs, tikkas and karhais. Hence Bakra Eid is the perfect occasion for the entire family to gather and have a barbeque party. People prefer rooftops and gardens for this activity, while the younger generation may even plan to have a barbeque on the beach or some other outdoor recreational area.