The particular event which gives rise to Buckrah Eade is the well-known circumstance of Abraham offering his son in sacrifice to God. The Mussulmauns, however, insist that the son so offered was Ishmael, and not Isaac, as our Scriptures declare. I have before remarked that I had frequent arguments with the learned men of that persuasion on this subject, which provoked a minute investigation of their most esteemed authors, to decide between our opinions. The author of ‘The Hyaatool Kaaloob’ advances many authorities, which the Mussulmauns deem conclusive, all of whom declare that Ishmael was the son demanded and offered in sacrifice; and two only, I think, of the many names that author quotes, were disposed to doubt whether it was Isaac or Ishmael. An evident proof, I think, that on some former occasion there had existed a difference of opinion on this subject among men of their persuasion. The result of the present inquiry, however, is that they believe Ishmael was the offering and not Isaac; whilst I remain equally convinced of the correctness of our sacred book.
The Mussulmauns, I should remark, as well as the Jews, trace their origin to Abraham, the former through Ishmael, and the latter through Isaac; and it is more than probable that to this circumstance may be attributed the decided prejudice of opinion, in favour of Ishmael being the person offered in sacrifice. Whether this be the case or not, these children of Abraham annually testify their reverence for their progenitor, and respect for his faith towards God, in the way most congenial to their particular ideas of honouring the memory of their forefathers.
I have thus attempted to sketch the origin of the festival, it shall now be my task to describe the way in which the Mussulmauns of Hindoostaun celebrate Buckrah Eade.
On this day all classes of people, professing ‘the faith’ sacrifice animals, according to their circumstances; some offer up camels, others sheep and goats, lambs or kids. It is a day of religious veneration, and therefore by the pious prayers are added to sacrifice;—it is also a day of joyful remembrances, consequently one of festivity amongst all ranks of the Mussulmaun population.
Kings, Princes, or Nuwaubs, with the whole strength of their establishments, celebrate the event, by going in great state to an appointed place, which is designated ’The Eade-Gaarh’ where the animals designed for immediate sacrifice are previously conveyed. On the arrival of the cavalcade at the Eade-gaarh, the head Moollah reads the form of prayer appointed for the occasion, and then presents the knife to the royal personage, who with his own hand sheds the blood of the camel he offers in sacrifice, repeating an impressive prayer as he presents the steel to the throat of the animal. The exact moment of the King’s sacrifice is announced by signal, when a grand salute from the artillery and infantry commences the day’s rejoicing.