President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. called on Filipinos on Wednesday to show solidarity with Muslims as the Catholic-majority Southeast Asian nation observed Eid Al-Adha.
Muslims constitute roughly 5 percent of the nearly 110 million Philippine population. Collectively referred to as the Moro people, the 13 ethnolinguistic groups form the largest non-Christian group in the country. Most live on the island of Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago in the Philippines’ south, as well as in the central-western province of Palawan, and in the capital Manila.
As they celebrated Eid Al-Adha, or Festival of Sacrifice, the second of the two main holidays observed in Islam, the Philippine president acknowledged the Muslim minority’s contributions to the country’s diverse culture.
“Our nation is a land of plentiful creeds that is further nurtured by Muslim Filipinos who help weave our rich tapestry of diversity. Let their devotion to these beliefs shine above all throughout the festivities, and further strengthen the bond among our families, friends and communities,” Marcos said in a message to the nation.
“Let us all be reminded of the importance of sacrifice and selflessness that mirror the essence of this occasion so that we can join hands with our Muslim brothers and sisters from all over the world in the spirit of peace, unity and mutual respect.”
Eid Al-Adha commemorates the Prophet Ibrahim’s test of faith when he was commanded by God to sacrifice his son, and also marks the culmination of Hajj, the annual pilgrimage that is one of the five pillars of Islam.
Muslim Filipinos, like other Muslims across the world, offer sacrifice on Eid. Meat from animals slaughtered for the occasion is shared with relatives and the poor, and eaten during family celebrations.
“We go to the mosque together and then after that we go back home, we eat. And then usually Muslims visit relatives just like Christians do during Christmas,” Darwin Absari, professor at the Institute of Islamic Studies at the University of the Philippines said.
“This is the kind of celebration where Moro delicacies are usually served. If you go to Sulu, they have the black soup, or beef stew with black soup, called the tiyula itum. In Lanao province, they have the carpa. It’s a kind of fish and beef korma. It is during this time that delicacies are prepared and served.”
Manila is home to about 200,000 Muslims, and many of them came to the Quirino Grandstand of Luneta Park for an Eid gathering.
“Here in Metro Manila, aside from the mosques, there’s a big gathering in Luneta,” said Ebra Moxir, a retired police officer and imam.
“There’s a congregational prayer in the morning.”
After prayers, cows and goats are sacrificed by those who can afford to do so.
“Then there’s also a feast and the visiting of brothers and sisters,” Moxir said.
“It’s like following the sacrifice of Prophet Ibrahim. The very lesson learned here is patience and sacrifice, and your willingness to obey God’s command.”