My friend Susie took this ram-errific photo today. Dakar is just packed with them!
My friend Susie took this ram-errific photo today. Dakar is just packed with them!

Sunday is Tabaski, the biggest holiday of the year in Senegal. Think the big traditional Christmas family gathering, but with new Easter clothes (times two or three outfit changes during the day) and the food of Thanksgiving, plus the parties of New Year’s Eve, then add the marketing hype of July 4th and Halloween. That’s Tabaski.

Or here’s the Wikipedia version: religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide to honor the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his young firstborn son Ishmael a as an act of submission to God, before God intervened to provide him with a ram to sacrifice instead.

Some Americans celebrate all the holidays I just mentioned, but not all. But here, nearly everyone is in for Tabaski. The population is 95 percent Muslim and the Senegalese people were recently ranked the 8th most religious worldwide. So yeah, the biggest Muslim holiday of the year is a big deal here. The cities empty out (even starting on Friday) as people head home to their villages for the weekend.

Someone is really going to miss his sheep-riding adventures come Sunday...
Someone is really going to miss his sheep-riding adventures come Sunday…

Here’s a little Tabaski math problem for you:

If there are 13 million people in Senegal and each family will buy and sacrifice (at least) one ram, how many sheep will be killed on Sunday?

On that lovely note, I wish you a happy week-before-Tabaski.