Tabaski, which is observed from July 9 to 11, is the version of the Muslim Holiday Eid-Al-Adha that is native to the Wolof people of Senegal, and some other countries such as Mali, for example. It is a national public holiday in Senegal to join the rest of Islam in commemorating Eid-Al-Adha, which is a celebration of Ibrahim’s obedience to Allah in accepting to sacrifice his son.
History of Tabaski Day
Tabaski is simply the Wolof expression of the Muslim holiday Eid-Al-Adha, which is the second-largest Muslim holiday. The holiday came about as a result of the story of Ibrahim and his obedience to Allah in agreeing to sacrifice Ismail, the son of his concubine, Hajira. This sacrifice was one of the most defining points of Ibrahim’s life, and there are reports that he had numerous nightmares preceding the act of sacrificing his son but later obeyed, as he trusted Allah.
During Ibrahim’s preparation to kill Ismail, the devil (regarded in the Arab world as ‘Shaytaan’) tempted Ibrahim and his family in a bid to dissuade them from carrying out Allah’s commandment and potentially forfeiting the favor that Ibrahim benefitted from Allah. In response to these temptations, Ibrahim drove Satan away by throwing pebbles at him. It is this act of Ibrahim stoning the devil during his temptations that are seen during the performance of Hajj rites, which include throwing stones at pillars that supposedly represent Satan.
After Ibrahim was able to finally make up his mind and decide to sacrifice his son in obedience to Allah, he took Ismail, gathered some supplies, and they went up to the proposed location for the sacrifice. Seeing Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son, Allah honored both Ibrahim and his son Ismail and provided a lamb for Ibrahim to sacrifice instead. The celebration of Eid al Adha is therefore to commemorate both the devotion of Ibrahim and the survival of Ismail.
Tabaski Day timeline
Prophet Muhammad, who is widely regarded by Muslims as the progenitor of Islam as it is known today, is born in 570 A.D.
The start of Islam dates back to 610 A.D. following the first revelation to the prophet Muhammad at the age of 40.
The Wolof Empire, based in Senegal, which celebrates Eid-al-Adha as Tabaski, is established in the 1200s.
Senegal is officially formed as a sovereign state in 1958.
Tabaski Day FAQs
What is Tabaski?
Tabaski is the version of the Muslim Holiday Eid-Al-Adha that is native to the Wolof people of Senegal, and some other countries such as Mali for example.
What is the purpose of sacrificing in Islam?
The idea behind the sacrifice is to kill something dear to man as an offering to Allah, as exemplified by the prophet Ibrahim, serving as a reminder to followers of Islam not to get carried away by their possessions.
Is Tabaski exclusive to Senegal?
Tabaski is not only celebrated in Senegal but other countries born out of the Wolof Empire such as Gambia, Guinea, and Mali, among others.
How to Observe Tabaski Day
Participate in Eid prayers
To celebrate Tabaski, one of the foremost things to do is to participate in the Eid prayers and other rites. Take time out on this holy occasion to partake.
Slaughter a ram/goat/cow
The Tabaski holiday commemorates Prophet Ibrahim’s intended sacrifice of his son Ismail, a gesture that was eventually honored by providing a lamb instead. So, slaughtering and sharing meat from a ram, goat, or cow for Tabaski is symbolic.
Share pictures on social media
Share pictures and videos of yourself dressed in traditional Tabaski attire, participating in the activities of the holiday, on social media with the #Tabaski hashtag. Spread awareness for those who don’t know about this holiday.
5 Interesting Facts About Senegal
Senegal’s first president was Catholic
Despite being a predominantly Muslim country, Senegal’s first president Leopold Senghor was a Catholic.
Senegal is home to the Dakar Rally
The Dakar Rally, an annual rally raid organized by Amaury Sports, is based in Dakar, Senegal.
Senegal never experienced a coup
Given the political history of most West African countries, Senegal has never once suffered a coup d’etat.
Abundance of goats and sheep
Senegal boasts an abundance of goats and sheep, which means there’s nothing to worry about when celebrating Tabaski.
Senegal is home to the Pink Lake
Lac Retba, or simply the Pink Lake, is found in Senegal.
Why Tabaski Day is Important
It’s a season to share
Tabaski is a time to be merry, to share, and be thankful. It’s customary to find friends and families visiting one another during the holiday.
It’s a time for spiritual connection
The general ambiance of Tabaski is honoring Allah whom Muslims believe to be the Supreme being and praying to him for good luck. It gives a sense of spiritual connection.
The experience of a new culture
If you’re visiting Senegal for Tabaski, it’s an opportunity to learn a new culture and experience the warmth of amazing people and great scenery. Visit Senegal today and experience it for yourself!
Tabaski Day dates