Love thy neighbour?


This past week, just as I was feeling jealous that our American friends were enjoying yet another Thanksgiving without me, I was informed that Ghana, too , would be having a long weekend break. Alas initial enquiries on why Friday was a holiday only provided vague mutterings of "some kind of Muslim holiday". I eventually found out that we had a day off so Muslims could celebrate Eid al-Adha, otherwise known as "Festival of Sacrifice". The only Eid I'd heard of was Eid al-Fitr, which celebrates the end of Ramadan so this was new to me. My aunt and I were invited to spend the day at her Muslim cousin's house where we ate and drank far too much. Friends and relatives were in and out of the house the whole day wishing everybody a happy Eid (and to get some cash) and there was enough food to even satisfy Boris Bogtrotter.

On the surface, there's nothing special about this. However, I had never been in the company of Christians and Muslims with so little tension. Everywhere I went on Friday, people seemed happy and there was a festive air in general. Now I can probably chalk that up to people being happy at the prospect of a three-day weekend but it was cool nonetheless. I can't possibly imagine this happening in a "multicultural" city like London where we're constantly reminded everyday just how much Christians and Muslims don't  get along. My university was in East London, the heart of a predominantly South-Asian Muslim community, and to say tensions ran high would be a gross understatement. I only have to cast my mind back to the all the wahala the Danish cartoons of Mohammed caused. Therefore, since being in Ghana, I've really loved the way people seem to generally live and let live when it comes to religion.

Now I know us Christians can come in the overzealous types, determined to convert anybody and everybody, but I'm liking the way Muslims and Christians seem to get along side-by-side with minimal drama. Don't worry, I'm not living in fairy-land and I know it's not all roses and bunnies but a little tolerance goes a loooong way- on both sides. It'd be cool if I could dash some of that across the Atlantic.

(Also tried tubani for the first time. One word- delish! I think I could definitely give up meat and live the pescatorian life in GH. Lol)

Image translation: The picture is entitled "Eid's Paranoia". White sheep- "What do you think will happen to us this holiday?"Black sheep- "I hope, for God's sake, that we can run away and survive." (Very loose translation)


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5 opinionated people have something to say:

Myne Whitman said...

Eid holidays in Nigeria, and they had thursday and Friday off last week, are generally very festive and happy. Muslims prepare ram meat and share to their Christian neighbours, friends and colleagues. I miss that ram meat myself.

Damilola said...

Ha. I was just about to say the same thing Myne mentioned. Every Eid holiday in Nigeria is just referred to as Sallah and most Christians ask their Muslim friends for Sallah Meat :-).
Of course there were issues with that cos some pastors said not to eat it because it was a sacrifice to a god since we didn't worship the same Allah, there was no belief in Jesus etc
However as you said in the article, its one of times when there is little tension between Christians and Muslims. Nice article :-)

Sankofa said...

@Myne Whitman I think it's that same sort of festivity here.

@Damilola I think Ghanaian Muslims call is Sallah too. I was having trouble remembering that so thanks!

Nsoromma...Child of the Heavens said...

I do think Ghanaian Muslims and Christians who LIVE AMONGST EACH OTHER get along admirably well. I've always been surprised how well tbh. A good chunk of my family are Muslim so I've seen it first hand.

Sankofa said...

@Nsromma Maybe proximity is the key

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