Egyptian Community in England and Germany gathered to celebrate the Eid El-Adha holiday among family and friends with joy and laughter filling the air of Europe.
Millions of Muslims around the world are celebrating the religious holiday, Eid al-Adha, or the “festival of the sacrifice.”
While similar to another Islamic holiday, Eid al-Fitr, which celebrates the end of Ramadan, Eid al-Adha has its own meaning and traditions.
What is Eid al-Adha?
The holiday celebrates the prophet Ibrahim and his unwavering faith to God. According to a story in the Quran, God comes to Ibrahim in a dream and commands him to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience. As the prophet is about to commit the act, God stops him and replaces his son with a sheep or a ram.
Eid al-Adha also signifies the end of Hajj, a 5-day pilgrimage that cleanses the soul of sins and instills a sense of quality and brotherhood among the Muslim community, stated Al-Jazeera.
During the last three days of Hajj, male pilgrims are required to shave their heads and remove the white garments worn during the pilgrimage, while women cut off a lock of hair as a sign of spiritual rebirth.
Muslims who are financially stable are expected to participate in the pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime, as it constitutes one of the five pillars of Islam.
Eid al-Adha is celebrated not only in the Middle East, but in parts of Asia, Africa, Europe and North America.
How is Eid al-Adha celebrated?
The day begins with morning prayers. During this time, millions of Muslims travel to the holy city of Mecca, where they circle a cube-shaped object called the Kaaba to praise God during the five daily prayers. The Kaaba represents God’s house and the oneness of God in the religion.
Following the same concept as the Quranic story, Eid al-Adha is marked with the sacrifice of an animal, with sheep, cows, or goats being common choices. The meat is then distributed to family, neighbors and the poor.
The celebrations continue with visits to family and friends and feasts, with children receiving gifts such as money and new clothes, reported CNN. The day is also a time when families donate to the poor and visit the graves of their loved ones.