A Thai Muslim girl in her finest outfit for Eid al-Adha in Narathiwat, Thailand.
The main reason I came to Thailand's deep south when I did, at the end of October, was because I wanted to be here to photograph the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha as it's practiced here. I'd been planning this trip to southern Thailand for over a year.
Also called the "Feast of the Sacrifice," Eid al-Adha is one of the most important holy days in the Muslim calendar. It marks Ibrahim's (Abraham) willingness to sacrifice Ishmael, his first born son. It also marks the end of the holy pilgrimage season of the Hajj. Huge feasts are held in Muslim communities around the world on Eid. It's also a time of travel - people are coming home from the Hajj, people travel to see family or return home from work in Bangkok or other big cities. It's a joyous holiday.
In Thailand, Muslim families buy a cow and sacrifice it in God's name. So many cows are sacrificed on Eid, that the markets in this part of Thailand run out of cattle. Cows are brought in from Myanmar (Burma) and Malaysia and sold for Eid sacrifices.
In other communities in the Muslim world, the sacrifice might be a goat or sheep. One of the tenets of Eid is that families with greater means provide for families or individuals with lesser means. A portion of every animal sacrificed is set aside for the poor, widows or orphans.
Before an animal is sacrificed it is blessed and men say a lengthy prayer over it. Its throat is then cut in the Halal fashion. The animal is immediately butchered and meat set aside for donations to the poor or less well off.
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