If you're in Africa right now, you may see an unusual amount of goats and sheep being purchased and strapped on to the back of cars, mopeds, carts, bikes and buses. Muslims throughout Africa are getting ready for Eid ul-Adha, the Festival of Sacrifice. The festival is celebrated in honor of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son Ismael as an act of obedience to God. Every year at the end of the Haj, Muslims throughout the world sacrifice a sheep or goat as a symbolic obedience to Allah. The meat is then distributed to others as an expression of generosity.
The festivities officially start on Thursday evening (25 October, 2012) and will continue into Friday. This is a great time of year for those in the business of selling sheep and goats, as prices are sky high. If you're a vegetarian and traveling in Africa you may want to hide. Muslim communities are notorious for their generosity when it comes to sharing food, and Eid ul-Adha is all about feeding those less fortunate. Expect government offices, banks, and businesses to be closed on Friday, 26 October throughout North Africa, and many parts of East and West Africa as well.