The biblical story of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son in obedience to God has its corresponding ritual in the Islamic faith in the Fiesta del Cordero, the celebratory slaughter of a ram, a sheep or a lamb. This rite marks the most important date of the Muslim calendar at the end of the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, two lunar months plus ten days after the end of Ramadan. It is known as Eid al-Kabir, the Great Feast, or Eid al-Adha, the Feast of the Sacrifice. Yesterday was this year’s festive date when 700,000 Muslims in all of Spain celebrated the start of a three-day celebration, as did some 18,000 followers of the prophet in Mallorca and some 1,400, here in Felanitx. According to the Qur’an, Ibrahim (Abraham) had an ax raised over his son when a voice from heaven told him to stop. He was allowed to sacrifice a ram instead. Many Muslim families reenacted this show of faith yesterday by sacrificing an animal, using a portion of it for the family feast and donating one-third to the less well-off as an act of charity.
Some history books tell us that during the 11th and 12th centuries, Mallorca might have seen a period of peace and prosperity with the three main religions of the time, Judaism, Christianity and Islam all living happily side by side. I do not know if such accounts are accurate but, it is quite obvious that in our day and age, religious tolerance in Mallorca is at a low. I received an unpleasant e-mail in my in-box a few days ago, attacking the Muslim faith, and I observe a subtle form of racism in the way many Mallorcans treat the local Moroccan population.
The photo was chosen from my archive. It was taken near Pollença, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: February 24th, 2010. The time was 13:09:17.