Religious celebrations and holidays or ‘holy’ days are honored and celebrated in all of the world’s faith traditions. In the Islamic calendar, Eid al-Adha is celebrated on the second day after Hajj – the fifth pillar of Islam and annual pilgrimage to Mecca.
All Muslims are encouraged to make this significant pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime and those who can afford to do so, visit sacred sites and conduct important rituals in and around the Holy Cities of Makkah and Madinah in Saudi Arabia.
As a religious holiday, Eid al Adha is celebrated by Muslims around the globe in recognition of the willingness of Prophet Abraham to sacrifice his son Ishmael as an ultimate act of obedience to God - God provided Abraham with a sheep to sacrifice instead of his son.
Honoured by all Muslims with deep reverence and in remembrance of Abraham's ultimate submission to God, the day gives Muslims an opportunity to reflect on the sacrifices they are also willing to make. Traditional foods, sweets and drinks are prepared for the event and the day is spent in prayer to God, giving thanks, eating and visiting friends. Sacrifice to those in need is also encouraged.
This year the Festival of Eid al-Adha is celebrated on Friday 26th October 2012, the 10th day of the Islamic month, Zul-Hijjah. The ‘month of Hajj’ is the twelfth month of the Islamic calendar and is a period of immense annual worship which gives this period a special significance for Muslims.
On the ninth day of Zul-Hijjah - the Day of Arafah, Muslim’s dress in white, gather and perform Hajj at the Mount of Arafah in Makkah. During this significant part of the Hajj, pilgrims supplicate, give thanks and pray ‘to God for all the blessings bestowed upon them' - those not attending the pilgrimage often spend the day fasting.