It’s that time of the year when most Muslims from all around the world celebrate Eid-ul-Adha (Bakr Eid) by spending time with family and sacrificing animals that they can afford. Well, sometimes can’t afford.

The nights are filled with the gentle bleating of goats and the not so gentle ‘Moos’ of “I-don’t-want-to-be-here” cows. That is, if you live in Pakistan.  Not so if you live in Dubai.

While in Pakistan, people quite literally park their animals (usually bloated jewelry adorned cows) outside their gates as if they were Bentleys; in Dubai, there is no sign of any sacrificial animal anywhere. At the times when the cars, I mean cows are not parked, they are taken for a not-so-light stroll around the neighborhood for all to see; just so everyone can observe what a good pious selfless Muslim the owner is. (The owner, who is actually lazing at home while the servant walks the Bentley, I mean cow.)

Of course, the bigger the animal, the more the meat, the better the Muslim. (Actually, it is just to show off that the owner has a lot of money, but shhhh.)

On the days that precede Eid, local TV networks in Pakistan talk, discuss, flaunt and then talk some more JUST about the animals that are to be sacrificed. In fact there is so much coverage, they might as well change their channel’s name to ‘Bhensa TV.’

Sellers give their animals unique names like “Beauty” “Salman Khan” “Shahrukh Khan” and I think there is even a Madonna roaming around somewhere. If that wasn’t enough, there are even fashion shows.

If you are thinking that they parade just the animals like people do in dog shows, think again. They parade the animal AND a somewhat scantily dressed female model too, complete with the catwalk and pouty pose! They even check the teeth. Not the woman’s, the animal’s!

Now let that image roast a bit in your head. Don’t forget the pout; the cow’s pout that is.

You’re welcome.

In Dubai, it is a very quiet affair; in fact you are not even allowed to bring the animal home (I am guessing they don’t like abundant poo scattered everywhere).

If you slaughter an animal in your premises, no matter what the size, you will be fined.  They are all slaughtered at a specified government sanctioned location at a set butcher rate of:

Dhs. 15 per goat (Rs. 436),

Dhs. 40 per calk/young camel (Rs. 1136) and

Dhs. 60 per older cow/camel (Rs. 1704).

There is no price haggling and there are no fights. Everyone knows what is to be done, at what cost and it is all done systematically. THAT is a very alien concept for those in Pakistan who quite literally are still arguing about the price while the butcher’s knife is already halfway through the goat’s neck.

Once the first day is over, it looks just like any other day in Dubai. The streets are clean with no visible sign that 1000s of animals were slaughtered that very day.

In Pakistan, the party doesn’t start unless there are guts lying out on the streets in the midst of a blood bath with the occasional stray head rolling about.  The stink is enough to tell everyone that Bakr Eid indeed has arrived. And oh, also due to the people who come to your door threatening, I mean demanding, I mean requesting for the animal’s skin.  Sometimes they come with guns, but I think it’s just a fashion accessory more than anything else.

*Insert sarcasm here*

Jokes apart, at least on this day, they don’t discriminate and treat all people of various Muslim sects as the same – as ‘free’ skin givers.

Christians and Hindus alike are invited to Muslim hosted family meals (and every where else) in Dubai whereas in Pakistan, people are too busy still arguing whether a Muslim can even wish a Christian Merry Christmas or not.

Well putting all that aside, one of the main purposes of Eid-ul-Adha is to share the meat with the lesser privileged and people really do that with great fervor in Pakistan which is why the sales of freezers go up by a whopping 90% around this time.

Oh wait. Freezer? 90%?

That doesn’t sound very sacrificing. 

The same holiday, the same occasion but such a vast difference between the two. One celebrated with cleanliness, simplicity, and the intent to share while the other is – well – pure chaos.

Come to think of it, there is actually one similarity between the two - the vegans on both ends are equally annoying.

And on that note, wherever you may be, have a good one.