Eid Mubarak: What to know about Eid al-Adha, the Islamic holiday
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.
How long does Eid al-Adha last?
While Muslims in countries such as the United States, Canada, Saudi Arabia and Egypt celebrated the holiday on Sunday, other countries including Lebanon, Iraq, India and the United Kingdom will begin commemorating on Monday. The start of the festival depends on the sighting of the new moon. The four-day holiday will end Wednesday for some countries, and Thursday for others.
Support on social media
According to the Pew Research Center, there were 1.8 billion Muslims in the world as of 2015. With the metro Detroit area having one of the highest concentration of Arab-Americans in the country, communities such as Dearborn and Dearborn Heights are recognizing Eid al-Adha on social media:
Courtesy : Detroit Free Press