“We do Ramadan, that’s like fasting sunrise to sunset. After Ramadan there’s Eid, but in my language it’s called Tabaski. Basically you fast for a little bit and you do the same prayer over and over again, to pray for all your sins, it will go on for hours sometimes. And then you sacrifice a lamb, cook it, and eat it. We go to a Muslim halal place and they’ll sacrifice the lamb for us and we’ll get the whole body and cook it. There’s two, the bigger eid is towards the end of the year. It changes every year, but the second eid is bigger, but I don’t remember the reason. It’s a whole party. My brother was born near Eid and so they had three full sized lambs for him and for eid. My grandpa actually breeds his own lamb every year and either kills the baby or the father. The lamb probably represents something, but I don’t really know, it’s just something we’ve always done. Eid is celebrating the end of Ramadan, it might also be some sort of anniversary but I don’t remember.”
Y is a 19-year-old college student from Denver, Colorado. Her parents were born in Dakar, Senegal, and her siblings lived there for a few years. Her parents speak Wolof, which is from Senegal. She and her family are Muslim, so they practice these holidays every year. She doesn’t really know the whole religious significance of them, but she knows they’re sacred and important. She mainly sees them as important holidays she spends with her family that mean a lot to them as physical representations of their faith and as a tradition their family does together every year.
Eid and Ramadan are important holidays in the Islam religion. Eid specifically is marked with the ritual killing and eating of a lamb, so lamb is a very important food to eat at that time. The second Eid, which she says is called Korité, is a party marked by celebration. Analysis of this piece cannot actually get into the analysis of symbolism of the lamb and what the holidays mean in a religious sense, because the informant is actually a passive bearer of that knowledge. She is an active participant in the holiday and rituals because they are a family practice. Religion is interesting because people can be part of that faith and actively participate in the customs, without actually knowing all the reasoning and religious background for it. I think we may be seeing more of that in young people as religion becomes something that is culturally less important in America. Young people are less expected to be largely invested in religion, as American culture looks to science and reason instead of religion. Of course, religion is still hugely important in shaping America, especially Christian and Abrahamic religions. But in big cities, less and less young people are fully knowledgeable about religion. This doesn’t necessarily indicate a lack of faith though. Many people still believe in a God or a higher power, and try to live by that religion’s customs to their best extent without fully dedicating their whole life to religion. Y is an example of a young person who is able to hold on to their identity and faith as a Muslim, without knowing all of the religious specifics. Religious practices for her and many young people have become important because it’s something they do with their family and something their family finds to be very important, not out of absolute dedication to the religion.