Wednesday, January 11, 2006

A very Gaza Eid

Eid, specifically Eid ul-Adha (the festival of Sacrifice) in Gaza means many things. First and foremost, it means MEAT (some here jokingly call it Eid il lahma..the eid of meat), since it is recommended that Muslims who can afford to slaughter sheep or cows to remember Abraham's sacrifice and distribute the meat to the poor, to neighbours, and to family. Unfortunately many people insist on doing it "the old-fashioned way", i.e. slaughtering the animals (though in a humane manner) near their homes, which means streets streaming full of blood (thank God it rained). Let's just say it was enough to make me consider becoming vegetarian.

Besides the meat, Eid here also means the usual-dressing up or buying new outfits, gifts and "eid-iyya" for the kids (some bonus gift money they get from each visiting relative), candy and chocolates and Eid cookies with date filling, crazy mini metal ferris wheels that suddenly pop up on Gaza's streets offering rides for a shekel a pop (I call them death-traps, they are so insanely dangerous) and of course, something so uniqely Gazan that even a West Banker wouldn't know it, there's Sumaqiyya! (Pronounced in true Gazan dialect as "Sumaggiya").

I guess you could call it one of Gaza's national dishes. Made on special occasions, it basically consists of chunks of tender meat, cooked with chard, tahini (sesame paste), dill, garlic, chilis, chickpeas, and of course-Sumac (from where it derives its name) and eaten with Arabic bread. Many people have a love-hate relationship with it-I guess you could call it an acquired taste, but it is definitely one of those dishes you won't find anywhere but Gaza!


Blogger DisplayName said...

Laila, don't worry with the appearence of the sumaqiyya, some dishes are just 'not photogenic'!
But I didn't understand how do you eat/ serve it... like baba ghanoush, could be?

Oh, hope I'm not late to wish a Happy Eid for you and your family!

And thanks for all the cultural stuff you're sharing.

10:06 PM  
Blogger mouna said...

Aid mobarak said ;)))

1:48 PM  
Blogger Laila said...

Hi! Sorry for the belated reply, been extremely busy here. Yes, it would be eaten like baba ghanouj, with bread and hands, not spoon. :)

3:09 PM  

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