Eid-al-Adha is also known as Eid-ul-Adha, Bakri-Eid, Greater-Eid, Festival of Sacrifice and Feast of Sacrifice. This year, Eid-al-Adha will be celebrated on the 12th of August and many Muslims around the world will take part in the ritual of sacrifice to begin the celebrations.
Here are a few lesser-known facts about this holy festival:
The Story of Sacrifice
While it is known that this Eid calls for animal sacrifice, the story behind may be less popular. This festival of sacrifice honours and commemorates Abraham’s selfless and willing sacrifice of his son. It is believed that God intervened at the last second and provided him with a sheep to slaughter instead of his only son.
Sheep is the most common animal to be sacrificed on this Eid. But other animals like goats, rams, and camels, buffaloes are also sacrificed in many parts of the world. Another interesting fact is that the animal should be male, of a particular age and in prime health to be selected. If the animal is injured, he is not eligible for the sacrifice ritual. As per Islamic rules, a special prayer must be recited before slaughtering the animal.
Hajj and Eid-al-Adha
Greater Eid is celebrated on the 10th day of the last month of the Islamic calendar, which also marks the end of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Hajj is a once-in-a-lifetime mandatory pilgrimage for all able Muslims (physically and financially) to the 5th pillar of Islam.
3-Day Long Festivity
Just like Eid-ul-Fitr marking the end of Ramadan, Eid-al-Adha is also a 3-day long festivity w. Prayers and get-togethers mark the spirit of celebration with children receiving gifts from elders in the form of “Eidi”.
Distribution of Udiyyah (the Sacrificed Animal)
According to the teachings of Islam, there is specific guidance on how the animal-meat is to be distributed. Hence, the meat of the sacrificed animal should be divided into three parts- the first part is for the poor and the underprivileged, the second part is for family and friends, and the third part is for self-consumption. The animals sacrificed at Mecca on Eid is distributed to the needy around the world.
Morning Prayers Marks the Beginning of the Celebration
Muslims who celebrate this Eid at home, instead of Mecca, offer congregational morning prayers at a mosque. While going to the mosque, many Muslims make donations, known as “Fitrah” as per the number of members in the family.
The Spirit of Sacrifice on Eid-al-Adah
Eid-al-Adha is not just a festival. It teaches humanity by sharing food with the hungry, and togetherness by celebrating the festival with family and friends. Moreover, sacrifice reinforces the notion of letting go of materialistic things, and prayers evoke calmness and humility.