I thought a creative, somewhat witty title wouldn't do Bajram justice. So this, my friends, is all about a day called Bajram! Bajram is also known as Eid al-Adha which is the Feast of the Sacrifice, honoring the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his own son. As my friend, Charity, compared it to, "Muslim Thanksgiving."
Bajram is mainly a day for family and friends. And my experience was exactly what I expected Bajram to be. We left early Friday morning for Tuzla, a city about two to three hours away from Sarajevo. The drive was gorgeous, even if the fog did cover the majority of the scenery. Three hours later, we arrived at Granny's house (Nizama's mom)! Also there were Nizama's brother, his wife, and two kids. The beginning was very relaxing. We watched some TV, we ate lunch, and we talked. Then everyone changed into nicer clothes and we took off for the house where the ox was going to be killed. We arrived at the house, where we were ushered into a room with other people who we were going to share the ox with. Within five minutes of sitting in that room, food and coffee were set out on the small coffee table as we waited for the ox.
Eventually, Irfan said that we were going to go to a small town about twenty minutes away from Tuzla. So he, myself, Nizama, and her sister-in-law piled into the car and took off. We walked down a lovely street, all the stores closed because of Bajram - except the cafés, of course - and enjoyed a little fresh air and company, grabbed some lunch, and then headed back for, what I thought, the sacrifice.
But it was not to be! We missed the killing by a few minutes and the men were already hacking the carcass away, separating meat. I looked at the ox and thought, "Ok, it's not so bad when it's all skinned. It just looks like meat." Then Irfan points to the corner of the yard where there lay the head of the ox, upside down, jugular flapping in the wind. I think the most horrifying part of that, was that the only reason I found that entire thing gross, was because of that white jugular. Sorry to give you a visual, but it was part of the experience and it's something you should know about Bajram! Just be happy I'm not including a picture!
We were then brought back into the friend's house where we talked to some other people and I was congratulated on my basic Bosnian, because someone told them I didn't know any Bosnian. But when a girl's mom walked in, she walked over and introduced herself and asked if I wanted to have coffee and before anyone could say anything, I immediately responded with my name and that I didn't want coffee. The girl looked over at me and exclaimed that my language skills were good and I could feel myself blushing.
|Host cousin and Nizama's sister in law|
After a little while of talking, supper was brought in (my stomach was about to explode, I swear) which was pita, burek, and a stew of the fresh meat. When our meal was cleared, they brought out cake and baklava. One thing you should keep in mind if you intend to visit Bosnia: They are extremely hospitable and they will feed you until you are rolling around on the floor. And I love them for it!
Night eventually came and we loaded back into the car with enough meat and food to last us a week. At least. The ride was silent as everyone curled into their own little corner and fell asleep. Well. Except for Esad naturally. Because he was driving.
All in all, Bajram was just a day of friends, family, talking, and - most importantly - eating. And it was wonderful to be a part of and witness!
Anyway, it's time for me to do some college apps!
Until there's more news to share,