My dad’s high school friend is Muslim. His friend had a new baby girl and invited us to a ceremony called an Aqiqah, a traditional ceremony to name a new baby. It is performed seven, 14, or 21 days after a child’s birth. Because we’re not Muslim, my family and I did not get to attend the actual Aqiqah ceremony, but we did get to go to the party afterward.
To show appreciation for the baby, they sacrifice two sheep for a baby boy (two sheep must be similar), and one sheep for a baby girl. The sheep must be free from any form of handicap like sickness, blindness or undernourishment. Another part of the tradition is to shave the baby’s hair and then the weight of the shaved hair is how much silver or gold they give to the poor.
When we first got there, I found out that the men and women had to be in separate rooms from each other. My mom, sister, and I were in the upstairs room with all the women. My dad was down stairs with all of the men. I really wanted to be with my dad, but there were a lot of nice women, so I felt a little better. I also felt better because my mom and sister were there with me too. I was sitting and talking with my mom and sister and noticed people speaking languages other than English. My dad said they were speaking Arabic. The good thing is, most of the people were speaking English so I could understand what people were saying to me.
I also noticed that people were wearing very different clothes than I was wearing. I saw a lot of ladies wearing long dresses, long head dresses and with very pretty patterns and colors. The outfits showed no skin other than the hands and face. Some ladies even had their faces covered and only two little holes for the eyes. I was wearing a long dress with flats. I felt like I may be disrespecting them, but I guess I was fine because nobody said otherwise. The men were wearing different clothing than my dad. They wore either long men dresses, or pants with long sleeve shirts with the same color or pattern. My dad was wearing one of his suits.
The dinner we had was delicious! We had Muslim yellow rice with bay leaves and roasted spices. We also had goat, sheep, chicken and salad. Lastly, we had a pastry pocket with ground beef and yummy seasonings inside. It was all just extraordinary. A big portion of the food is given to the poor.
Even though, my family and I did not get to participate in the actual Aqiqah. It was a very educational event that taught me a lot about this culture. It was a really fun, interesting, and different culture.
What type of new culture events have you experienced?
Blog: Dearly Hannah
Photos and Recipe: Muslim Yellow Rice