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Experiencing Eid al-Adha in Ghana
By Ellice, YES Abroad 2014-2015, Ghana
This past weekend, YES Abroad Ghana students were able to participate in Eid-Al Adha, or Festival of the Sacrifice. In order to experience this holiday and to learn more about the Islamic religion and culture, YES Abroad Ghana students had the opportunity to attend a service at a Mosque, observe traditional ceremonies, attend a wedding, and engage in discussions about Islam with an Imam.
Upon arriving at the Mosque, we were instructed on how to put on a hijab and how to perform the proper ablutions before entering the Mosque. As we entered, we were told to remove our shoes and we sat on the floor waiting for prayer. The prayer and message of the service was very moving, relaxing, and peaceful. The message of the service focused on peace, unity, and harmony amongst all people.
Once the service was over, we moved to see the ceremonial slaughtering of a lamb. It is also known as the Qurbani, and the meat is intended to be enjoyed by the family, neighbors, and given to charity.
The day helped me to demystify some of the principles and stereotypes about different religions and cultures. Following the day’s activities, we were invited to the Imam’s residence to discuss different topics that I rarely had exposure to in the U.S. These discussions gave me an understanding of why somethings are practiced in the religion, and provided a greater context for my experience in Ghana.
Overall, this experience was important to me because it allowed me to view Islamic culture from a Muslim’s perspective. I also was able to understand and appreciate the principals, virtues, and morals the religion stands for, without judgment or stereotypes. By attending the service at the Mosque, I felt as if was able to live as Muslim for a day, which gave me a new perspective to live with.