Eid al-Adha

This Muslim festival commemorates Ibrahim or Abraham, and when he showed obedience towards Allah’s order to sacrifice his son. This is why the holiday is sometimes called the Feast of the Sacrifice. It takes place on the 10th day of the Islamic month of Dhu al-Hijjah. Most celebrations last 2-4 days. Eid al-Adha is the counterpart of Eid al-Adha, which together make up the Eid holidays. They are considered holidays of remembrance and accomplishment. The holiday also ends the period of hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, which Muslims are supposed to make once during their life.

Background

The main function of the holiday is to commemorate Ibrahim’s submission to God. This occurred when Ibrahim began to have recurring dreams of sacrificing his son, Ishmael, making Ibrahim realize that God was asking him to slaughter his only son. Satan tempted Abraham as he considered God’s commandment, but Abraham threw rocks at him to drive Satan away. This is why observers of Hajj rights will throw stones at symbolic pillars.

Abraham decided to ask Ishmael, who was 13, about the dreams. Ishmael told him that he wanted his father to carry out God’s will. When Abraham attempted to carry out this sacrifice, God stopped Abraham and offered him a dead ram to sacrifice instead. God had been testing Abraham’s willingness to obey. Eid al-Adha is a commemoration of this sacrifice.

Customs

Muslims will prepare for the festival with ablution prayers, personal grooming, or by wearing their best clothes. They then must attend a religious service featuring the Aid al-Adha prayer and a sermon.

Another aspect is the sacrifice of an animal, such as a cow, goat, sheep, ram, or another type of animal. Since most countries outlaw this practice, many observe a feast of meat dishes to symbolically follow the sacrifice.

Some poor observers are sent animals to partake with by affluent Muslims. After services, observers form gatherings of family and friends to exchange gifts. There is no specific tradition for food that must be served at this meal, as this depends largely on location and culture.

Hajj pilgrimage

Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam. During the time of Eid al-Adha, some Muslims fulfill their duty to make a pilgrimage to Mecca. In Mecca on Eid al-Adha, observers descend from Hajj ceremonies on Mount Arafat. Before this pilgrimage, those who had not made this journey yet were called pilgrims. After, they were referred to as Hajj. While many divisions between the faith disagree on Islamic tradition, the shared custom of the Hajj provides a sense of unification. After their arrival, pilgrims are read a series of rites that relate to the life of Ibrahim.

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