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Blogger Yadashthaye yek daneshjuye dahati (The Notes of a Village Student, see blog for photos) writes about the rite of sacrificing sheep in his village on the Islamic holiday Festival of Sacrifice:

Today is the Feast of Sacrifice (Eid-e Qorban). It is the day of sacrificing all worldly links. But, who among us is prepared to go to the altar and sacrifice our desires before Almighty God?

In the village, the Feast of Sacrifice is celebrated in a special way, which is difficult to describe. With the sunrise of Eid, everyone. that is men and women, young and old, become busy with their respective chores.

All the family members gather at the house of the elderly of the family, that is my grandfather. I, along with my cousins, take the car to the farm to pick the selected sheep for the sacrifice and take it to grandpa's home and altar.

All the sheep have been taken to the pasture since morning. We remove our sheep from the herd, and put her in the pickup to give her the final ride.

This sheep is our share of the sacrifice. The rest of the family also brings other sheep as their share and there are three sheep in all for the sacrifice -- three sheep to be sacrificed by our family.

We get to grandpa's home to see people gathering. My dad and uncle are already there, while the others are on their way.

We drop two sheep from the pickup and take them aside with the third one, which has already arrived there.

The scale is to be adjusted for weighing the sheep.

We carry the sheep on our shoulders to the weighing machine. These sheep do not understand human language in order to get on the scale on their own; hence using the last resort in the beginning, we push them to the weighing machine.

The weight is obtained in two stages: first with the man carrying the sheep and next the man alone. The difference is the weight of the sheep.

The limbs of the sheep are tied and they are readied for slaughter. He who is to read the sacrifice prayer, father comes along with a prayer book in his hand.

It is recommended that the sheep be given water and a sugar cube before its slaughter. Uncle arrives with some water and sugar cubes. Even the sacrificial sheep are given water before slaughter, but there were men who went to the altar thirsty in the desert of Karbala. True men they were.

The blade is to be sharpened for lessening the pain of the poor animal.

Now is the time for the slaughter. Father recites the prayer.

After the slaughter of the sheep, we wash our hands and get ready to skin them.

We divide ourselves into three groups to speed up the process; each group gets busy with one sheep. In a village family, when all the members are either shepherds or are familiar with the work, these benefits are present as well.

About This Blog

Persian Letters is a blog that offers a window into Iranian politics and society. Written primarily by Golnaz Esfandiari, Persian Letters brings you under-reported stories, insight and analysis, as well as guest Iranian bloggers -- from clerics, anarchists, feminists, Basij members, to bus drivers.

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