Eid al-Adha is referred to as “Tabaski Festival” in Senegal, as in neighbouring Gambia and much of West Africa. But though the name may differ, it’s the same Islamic holiday that Muslims in other parts of the world celebrate.
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In Senegal, the state provides a sheep or ram to households who can’t afford their own. Thus, everyone is able to slaughter an animal on this day. The streets are full of animals tied to posts and even to cars, awaiting the slaughter. You’ll see sheep and goats led by small children and see them riding with humans on buses as well.
There is a national contest on TV in Senegal each year to determine which sheep was the most beautiful, but their beauty, alas, will not spare them!
After a special mosque service, people return home to slaughter the sacrificial animal. It is first bathed, usually at the beach, and then its blood is drained out into a hole in the ground. Then, the carcass is butchered for the feast.
All parts of the three or four million animals sacrificed in Senegal for Tabaski are used. Nothing is wasted, not even the intestines. The skin’s leather is used, as are the animals’ horns.