Saturday, December 5, 2009

Celebrating Eidol Aza

So, last weekend was Eidol Adha.  This is a muslim celebration which commemorates the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice Isaac/Ismail (in Islamic tradition it is Ismail) to God.  At the last minute, god magically replaced Abraham's son with a sheep.  So, for Eidol Adha, sheep/goats are sacrificed, as well as cows and buffalo (if the community can afford it) and the meat is then distributed to the poor and shared amongst those who participate in the ritual.  So, I was picked up by Agung, a great guy who worked in Vancouver for 4 years and is the bf of one of my co-workers.  He lives about an hour from me, in a place called Tengerang, just outside W. Jakarta.  He was adamant that I wear a jacket so that I didn't "Masuk Angin".  In Indonesia, the people firmly believe that if you Air (angin) enters (masuk) your body it will make you sick, and further, that the air could become duduk angin (sitting air) which will cause your death!  So, even when you are in 32C weather, when you ride a motorcycle, you need to wear a jacket.  They also sell these things which are best described as bullet proof vests, which ostensibly will save you from getting scraped if you fall off your bike, but sell here due to there defensive powers against masuk angin.  Anyway, I slept over at his house, where I took my first Indonesian shower.  In Indonesia, they have a big square basin, about a metre high, filled with water, and a scooper.  You scoop water out of the basin and pour it onto your body.  The whole bathroom is one big shower stall, so you water just goes everywhere.  At first, I didn't spot the train, and was panicking as to where to dump the water?  Then, I noticed the drain in the opposite corner.  Next day, we woke up, went to the pasture to pick up the goats.  I personally led a goat down the road to the flat area which had been set up for the sacrifice by the way, the whole days activities were accompanied by traditional Indonesian music for Eid called Beduk Lebaran.  It is a fast, rhythmic drumming and Islamic praises sung by a group.  This cassette was played THE ENTIRE DAY!  There were 7 goats, 1 cow and 1 water buffalo.  Buffalo are really muscular and kind of scary to be honest, seems like they could easily kill you.  The goats were trying to hump each other, even though they were all male, as we led them down the road.  Then, a butcher came and started setting things up.  Long story short, they butcher the animals and the whole community helps cut up the meat into portions for distribution.  It takes eight men to flip a buffalo.  I didn't see the buffalo or cow get killed, but i saw two of the goats get butchered.  I was a bit worried that I would pass out and everyone would think I was a wimp, but I was fine.  Then I sat down on the dirty, bloody ground and cut the hot meat, meat so fresh, that when you cut into it the muscle would still flex!  One of the butchers, a thick, muscle bound guy who fit the perfect stereotype of a butcher then showed me the raw, skinned balls of the goat and said "you like?"  I thought this would be a prelude to me having to eat the balls, but luckily, the guy just dropped the whole "set" right into his mouth and swallowed it down.  Balls are highly prized here because they give you "man power" and not in the labour ministry sense.  Finally, the day was over and we all headed back to Agung's house.  There, I ate and talked to his family and his mom said if I ever needed anything, I should consider her as my mother in Jakarta.  Very nice family.  Then, I headed back to my apartment on the back of Agung's motorcycle.  Worst thing was, I literally almost fell asleep!  I never would've believed that I could fall asleep while darting through the traffic of Jakarta but there I was.  I just gripped the back of the bike hard and flexed my legs, you know, get the blood flowing.  Fell asleep around 8 pm back at my Apartment.

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