The Aïd el kebir a is popularly known as la fête du mouton (literally: celebration of the sheep) here in Morocco. Ironically, no sheep is celebrating, however they are the highlight of the day.

Mutton, mutton everywhere

They’re on motorbike, on big taxi trunks (the white Mercedes taxis), pulled by the horn at Bus terminal, offered by insurance and money lending companies, etc.

Most of our Moroccan neighbours bought muttons few days before the day of sacrifiction, mind you, I live at the tenth floor of a ten floored apartment, so few days before the Aïd celebration, we were surrounded by the baa baa bands (in surround sound).

neighboring rooftop D-1

La fëte de mouton, photo by Vincent Bransiecq, CC-Some Rights Reserved

No elevator = Cardio exercise = not a fan

On D-1, the elevator went bust, exhausted from transporting sheeps and goats to the 10th floor which then to be dragged up to the roof, the temporary barn. The worst day for the 10th floor natives.

Our concierge is taking a long holiday, so for the time being we’re having a new concierge Mr. Stare-a-lot, who multitasks cleaning and prepping the building, sorting out the building’s garbage (the poor guy also deals with animal manure and hay mess on the rooftop), and being day and nightwatchman.

Seasonal businesses

For this occasion, some people set up  tiny cabane de paille in some corners of the busiest streets near Le Marché Badr, selling hays for mutton’s feed. A few meters away from the mosque, a herder selling muttons and billy goats. 🙂   Ah…the convenience, ah…. the smells (beurk!).

I love going to the market. I think our nearby wet market is the only original and interesting place to go in the neighbourhood. The market is a lovely extention to the lovely quartier semi-populaire where we live.

There’s Monsieur Legumes, the owner of the veggie stalls (slash his mini-home where he sleeps at night even during winter..) in front of the market, who always call me soeur or sister in French (not so sweet, considering that he’s probably close to 50 year-old, wait does this means that I look old? 😥 ).. There’s Thayyeb the go to guy for fresh salade and des herbes fines, Moustapha the meat guy who look more like a surgent or doctor in his white  (occassionally with blood stains) working outfit and glasses, and the gentil Monsieur Boucher with moustache whose popularity on the rise, especially ahead of la grande et petite fête (until now I still don’t understand why Aîd el Fitr is the petite fête – the small party).

D-1, the market was overflooded by nervous customers. Many of them left the market with their hands full, the market empty, and the vendors “nervous”.

I asked Monsieur Boucher moustache why he looked upset, he told me that that before the holiday, everybody wants everything, right now, but no, he’s not upset (though it was obvious by the look that his entourage were trying to keep their distance). Cleaver and anger better stay apart.

Rooftop frenzy

D-day, I tried my best to ignore the noise outside, unfortunately sunny weather made people even happier and excited to be on the rooftop and do what they have to do with the temporary domesticated flock. From the 10th floor the sights are around us. Too gory for me, so I try to keep my mind occupied by other things. It was one of the most moving experience since we arrived in Casablanca. Close to the afternoon the baa baa sound became fader and fader and all gone before sunset.

Bye baa baa, bye. No more sheep on the rooftop for now, just their skins left to dry by some neighbours.

Monsieur legumes told me at D-1 “pour les marocains, la fête c’est la fête.” I thought he meant to say that Moroccans know how to celebrate things in big way, but actually it was his way to warn me. Unfortunately, my tiny expat brain couldn’t understand it until it’s too late.

The aftermath

D+1 going on day+2. Rupture des stocks at the market. The price slightly increase and most stalls didn’t open.

On D+2, Monsieur legumes repeat what his said last Friday, plus apologizing that he had to increase the price of 1,5 kg of veggies by 3 dirhams.

Moustapha told me that he only had some mutton meat for tagine in his storage fridge and nothing else.

No delivery until the delivery truck feels like going back to normal schedule. :'((((((((

Well at least the elevator is fixed. I’m beat from unwanted cardio exercise. The belies will be fed with Telur Balado and dairy rich pasta for the time being.


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