Everything You Need To Know About Eid al-Adha
There are two official holidays that are celebrated in Islam. One is Eid al-Fitr, which celebrates the breaking of the fast at the end of Ramadan. The other is Eid al-Adha. In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about Eid al-Adha, including what it is, how it’s celebrated, and more.
What Is Eid al-Adha?
The Eid al-Adha holiday—often referred to as “Big Eid” or “the Greater Eid”—is an Islamic holiday that honors Ibrahim’s (Abraham) devotion and obedience to Allah. The holiday specifically commemorates Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail (Ishmael) when Allah commanded him to. However, before Ibrahim could do so, Allah provided him with a ram to sacrifice in Ismail’s place. In Arabic, “Eid al-Adha” translates to “Festival of Sacrifice.”
When Is Eid al-Adha?
The date of Eid al-Adha is determined by the Islamic lunar calendar, so it varies each year. However, Eid al-Adha falls on the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah—the last month of the Islamic calendar—and lasts for four days. It can be difficult to know exactly when Eid will be, as the dates shift about 11 days earlier each year in the international (Gregorian) calendar. In 2022, the approximate start of Eid al-Adha will be celebrated between sundown on Saturday, July 9th, and sundown on Sunday, July 10th, and will last several days after.
How Is Eid al-Adha Celebrated?
Eid al-Adha observances and celebrations include going to a mosque to pray any time between when the sun completely rises to just before the entering of Zuhr time—known as the noon prayer—on the 10th of Dhu al-Hijjah.
For many Muslims, Eid al-Adha marks the culmination of Hajj (pilgrimage)—which is the Fifth Pillar of Islam—rites at Minā, Saudi Arabia, near Mecca. This annual pilgrimage is taken by men and women who are financially and physically able to take it once in their lifetime, and the end of the pilgrimage coincides with the end of Eid al-Adha.
Another part of Eid al-Adha is food. As another way of commemorating Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice Ismail, families will sacrifice a ritually acceptable animal, like a cow, goat, sheep, or camel. The family then consumes a portion of the meat from the slaughtered animal, giving the rest to the poor and needy, demonstrating another Pillar of Islam—zakat.
Similar to Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha is a time when Muslims wear new clothes, exchange gifts, and enjoy feasts with family and friends. Muslims also wish one another a happy Eid al-Adha with greetings. One common phrase that is used during both Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr is “Eid Mubarak,” which means “Blessed Eid.” You may also hear a variation of the phrase, “Eid al-Adha Mubarak.” By saying this, Muslims are wishing one another good fortune and well-being.
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