Millions of Muslims around the world will be celebrating Eid al-Adha this week; it will begin in the evening of August 11 and end on August 15.
The exact date of eid changes every year, as it follows the Islamic lunar calendar and not the international Gregorian calendar.
The celebrations begin two days after the start of the Hajj.
Every year, around 2 million Muslims from around the world converge on Mecca, dressed in white clothes called Ihram, which signifies the bonds of Islamic brotherhood and sisterhood by demonstrating that everyone is equal in the eyes of Allah.
What is Eid al-Adha?
Eid al-Adha, also called the “Festival of Sacrifice”, is the second of two Islamic holidays celebrated worldwide each year (the other being Eid al-Fitr), and considered the holier of the two. It honors the willingness of Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God’s command. Before Abraham sacrificed his son, God provided a male goat to sacrifice instead.
In commemoration of this, an animal is sacrificed and divided into three parts: one-third of the share is given to the poor and needy; another third is given to relatives, friends, and neighbors; and the remaining third is retained by the family.
Bakra Eid, another word for Eid al-Adha or Eid ul Adha, is a public holiday in Muslim countries.
Eid al-Adha is known as the festival of sacrifice and the special occasion includes prayers, greetings, and gifts of various kinds.
Muslims celebrate the occasion when Allah came to Ibrahim in a dream and asked him to sacrifice his son Isma’il as an act of obedience to God.
Ibrahim was tempted by the devil, saying he should spare his son.
But as he was about to sacrifice Isma’il, Allah stopped him and gave him a lamb instead – praising him for his obedience.
Today, those who can afford it sacrifice a sheep or a goat to celebrate Eid Al Adha as a reminder of the story.
Eid al-Adha usually starts with prayers at the mosque, thanking Allah for the blessings they have received.
Here, they also exchange the greeting “Eid Mubarak” which means “blessed Eid”.
It is also mandatory for people with money to give an amount to charity, so less fortunate people can afford to celebrate as well.
Bakra Eid also marks the end Hajj, a pilgrimage that takes Muslims to the Grand Mosque in Mecca.
Approximately two million Muslims makes the five-day religion journey every year.
How Eid al-Adha is celebrated globally?
The event expects Muslims to pray, dress in their best clothes and give gifts to others, but it is first and foremost a special occasion to celebrate with friends and family.
Eid al-Adha is more commonly known as Eid el-Kibr in Egypt. The day starts off the same; Eid Prayers followed by a sermon which is then followed by family gatherings and a huge feast. The people of Egypt donate Qurbani meat very generously. The wealthy, as well as numerous charity organizations, give Qurbani meat and other food necessities to all those in need in order to honour the Sunna of Prophet Ibrahim.
Europe and America:
Muslims living in Western and European countries no doubt miss the Eid festivities back home but that doesn’t dampen their spirits nor their celebrations. Muslims living in these regions usually skip breakfast and go straight for Eid prayers. After the prayers and sermon, they have a huge feast with family and friends. Due to the increasingly active work lifestyle of these countries and the fact these are predominantly non-Muslim regions, it is also very common to see people going straight to work or school after Eid and they celebrate as a family over the weekend.
The government in Pakistan on Wednesday announced holidays for Eid Al Adha 2019.
According to a notification by the Ministry of Interior, August 12, 13, 14, and 15 will be holidays. Saturday, August 17, will be a working day, the Dawn reported.
Last month, the minister for science and technology Fawad Chaudhry had announced that Eid Al Adha this year would fall on Monday, August 12, the report added.
Pakistan had in May launched a lunar calendar and the country’s first moon-sighting website amid much controversy.
Addressing a press conference at the Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR), he said that lunar calendar had been prepared with the help of experts and included important dates from 2019 till 2024.
The United Arab Emirates:
The Federal Authority for Government Human Resources has announced a four-day holiday for Eid Al Adha for the private and public sectors.
The holiday of Eid Al Adha will begin on the 9th of the Zul Hijjah and last until the 12th. The Zul Hijjah moon was sighted on Thursday evening in Saudi Arabia, indicating that Friday, August 2, would be the first day of the Islamic month of Zul Hijjah. Eid Al Adha, therefore, will begin on August 11.
Public and private sector employees in UAE will enjoy holidays from Zul Hijjah 9 (August 10) until Zul Hijjah 12 (August 13).
The Sultanate of Oman will be having five Eid Al Adha holidays starting from Sunday (August 11) to Thursday (August 15) for the private sector.
According to a report in the Times of Oman, the holiday will last until the next Sunday for the public sector.