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In ancient times you were supposed to sacrifice the best cattle or camel in your gherd. The one you have raised with love and care. These days not everyone raises a herd of cattle or camel. The only option that remains is to buy the animal. The buying process is a lot like buying a Christmas tree. One who has gone through the process of buying a Christmas tree will understand what I'm going to talk about. You start by observing the trees at the various lots that spring up every Christmas. You contemplate which one looks the best, which will fit through the door in your house, whether to buy pine or fur. You also try to keep the cost low so that it doesn't affect your holiday budgets. You might even consider buying a fresh tree straight from the garden instead of buying the cut ones in your neighborhood lot. You shake the tree to make sure it is not old and dry. Then you strap the tree on the roof of your car, bring it home, decorate it, and water it everyday. Buying a cow (here I'm talking about the principal sacrificial animal in my country) is a lot similar.
Two or three weeks before the big day hundreds and thousands of cattle are brought into the cities by open trucks or big sail boats to be sold in the markets. These markets are constructed in huge open fields, solely for this occasion. I remember very well the first time I ever went to one of these markets. I was ten. Few days before the Eid all my uncles and aunts, their spouses and kids, gathered at my maternal grandparent's home. They lived in a small town where they still had a backyard that could be turned into a slaughterhouse. In the big cities it is getting harder and harder each day to perform this religious ceremony. Many people live in apartment buildings where there is no backyard to slaughter these animals. Even if there is its hard to take care of the animal before it is sacrificed, e.g. feeding it and watering it. Moreover, its very hard to find hired hands who can help with the slaughtering and skinning. It is no easy task I tell you. Most people try to compensate for all these difficulties by buying the animal the day before Eid or getting together with few other families and help each other. Sometimes the slaughtering takes place on the streets if no other suitable place can be found. To avoid all these problems we decided to enjoy the Eid at our grandparent's place.
My grandfather, three uncles, two cousins and I were going to be the lucky ones to buy the special animal.