Sumaya Obaid, a chef and TV personality in the United Arab Emirates, recalls that when she was a child, the neighbors, regardless of race or class, would gather to sacrifice sheep for Eid al-Adha, then wash the meat and distribute it.
“Now that laws have changed, and people don’t slaughter animals at home, the collaboration and sharing, the butchering, the cleaning together, that has all disappeared,” she said. “That sense of community is just not there anymore.”
Other elements of Eid celebration, however, remain intact. Machboos el-Eid, spice-rubbed and roasted lamb, is still the essential holiday dish in the Emirates. The saffron-laced spice mixture varies from family to family, and the women take pride in picking out the fresh spices at the market a few days before the celebration to grind and prepare at home.