Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Sheep Souq

So, you've been to the Tahnaoute souq with me a few times. Now I'm about to show you a different kind of souq: the sheep shouq. Well, I can't exactly call it THE sheep souq. It's more lke A sheep souq. There are a lot of them this time of year in Marrakech in preparation for the Eid holiday.


During Eid each family sacrifices a sheep. So, the sheep souq consists of people selling sheeps as potential sacrifices.

Note to readers: I am fully aware that the word "sheeps" is a completely inappropriate pluralization. I just think it's cute. I may also use the word "sheepies" sometime during this post. Consider yourself grammatically warned.


It was kind of bizarro to see a bunch of men standing around holding sheep by the head. Potential buyers walk around, pick the sheep up, and pat them. It's kind of like 4-H. Except that the sheep are really dirty. And there's no ribbons.


I would like to take this opportunity to remind my gentle readers about my phobia of taking pictures of strangers. Also, I didn't want to have my touristness result in a skyrocketed price for Brahim while purchasing his sheep (in fact, I pretty much walked at least five meters behind him at all times). Almost all of these pictures were taken with my camera at my waist shooting randomly. Sometimes that resulted in decent pictures. More often, it resulted in pictures like the one above.


Sometimes the pictures were a cross of decent and completely useless. I never would have taken this pictures of a sheep's backside on my own, but I kind of like it. By "like it," I mean it makes me laugh in a visual slapstick sort of way. It must be the Alston in me.


Once a sheep is purchased, it has to be moved to your vehicle of choice. This is not an easy task. Somehow, I think the sheepies know that they are going to be sacrificed, and they are extremely uncooperative. The wheelbarrow method was frequently used to force sheep mobility.


I also saw a lot of sheep being passed overhead. I was very grateful not to be under any of the sheep.


We paid a guy a few dirhams to carry our sheep in a cart (the terms "we" and "our" are being used very loosely here...).


The guy really earned his dirhams when he carried our sheep to the car.


Brahim helped the guy put the sheepie in the trunk.


Note to animal rights activists: this blog does not make any official statement of approval of keeping live mammals in the trunks of cars. It is merely objectively reporting typical behavior in Morocco. Thank you.


The legs were tied together to keep the sheep from getting too crazy in the trunk. Although, we did hear a fair amount of banging going on.

Note to animal rights activists: please refer to the above caption. Thank you.


People concerned for the welfare of the sheep as we drove from Marrakech to Tahnaoute will be happy to know that Brahim stuffed cardboard in the trunk to keep it from closing all the way.


He even bought tape to keep the trunk closed enough to prevent the cardboard from falling out.


Good thing he had his pocket knife with small scissors, huh?


We put the sheep in the little open air courtyard at home.


He (and I know it's a he because only male sheep are used for the sacrifices) only stayed of a few hours before he was relocated to a neighbor's stable. But, it was long enough for Karim to look through the window and make sheepie noises.

Stay tuned for upcoming details about the sacrifice!!!


Missy said...

I have to admit, I feel bad for the sheep. Getting stuffed in a trunk is on no one's to-do list. However, I am very excited to hear about the Eid al Adha celebration!

Breezi said...

Wow. How very Mafia, stuffing live sheep in the back of the car. You have to wonder though: What did the sheep do?