Eid ul-Adha (Arabic: عيد الأضحى) is second in the series of Eid festivals that Muslims celebrate. Eid ul-Adha is celebrated as a commemoration of Prophet Ibrahim's (Abraham) willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail for Allah.
On this day Muslims sacrifice animals which have been deemed Halaal, or fit for sacrifice. They not only eat the meat themselves but distribute it amongst their neighbours, relatives and the poor and hungry.
It is celebrated on the 10th day of the month of Dhul Hijja (ذو الحجة) of the lunar Islamic calendar, after Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. This happens to be 70 days after the end of the month of Ramadan. While Eid ul-Fitr is considered to be one day, Eid ul-Adha is supposed to be four days, with the prayer being on the first day. Likewise, Eid ul-Fitr has the prayer on the first and only day. During this day, men, women, and children are expected to dress in their finest clothing.
The centre of the world-wide celebrations of Eid ul-Adha is the small village of Mina, a few miles from Mecca. This is the site of the three pillars which represent the devil (Iblis) and are stoned by Muslims during the Hajj. These three pillars represent the three steps taken to shoo away the devil, who tried to convince Prophet Ibrahim not to offer the sacrifice to Allah. The village also plays host to scores of butchers who arrange for the Halaal slaughter of the sacrificial animals on the pilgrims' behalf. The recent explosion of numbers of people attending Hajj has led to a huge number of animals being slaughtered. Today, instead of sacrificing the traditional sheep in memory of Allah's intervention in the story of Ibrahim and Ismail, sacrifices can be measured in terms of sheep-units, in which a cow or a camel is worth many sheep.
The charitable instincts of the Muslim community are demonstrated during Eid ul-Adha by the concerted effort to see that no impoverished Muslim is left without sacrificial food during this day. Coming immediately after the Day of Arafat (when Prophet Muhammad pronounced the final seal on the religion of Islam), Eid ul-Adha gives concrete realisation to what the Muslim community ethic means in practice.
Eid ul-Adha in the Western Calendar
While Eid ul-Adha is always on the same day of the Islamic calendar, the date on the Western calendar (the Gregorian calendar) varies from year to year due to differences between the two calendars, since the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar and the Gregorian calendar is a solar calendar. Furthermore, the method used to determine when each Islamic month begins varies from country to country. (For details, please see Islamic calendar.) All future dates listed below are only estimates:
NOTE 1: The Saudi authorities had originally confirmed that Eid ul-Adha in 2005 would begin on Friday, January 21 (), but subsequently moved up the date by one day to January 20, possibly for better crowd control by avoiding Hajj during the weekend (, , ). The official reason was that the new moon was sighted earlier than expected, starting the month of Dhul Hijja one day early. It is not known if other countries will follow and adjust their calendar accordingly.
NOTE 2: There are 2 Eid ul-Adha in the year 2006.
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Last updated: 06-02-2005 13:08:32