Eid al-Adha, known as the Feast of the Sacrifice, is the second of two major Eid Muslim holidays. This year, the festival begins on the evening of 3 October, based on the lunar-based Islamic calendar.
Thousands of Muslims around the world are set to celebrate the festival, which commemorates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ishamel as an act of submission to God.
It also signifies the end of the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, which attracts over two million pilgrims annually.
What is the history behind Eid al-Adha?
The festival celebrates the story of Abraham, who was instructed by the Islamic God Allah in a dream to raise the foundations of Kaaba, the sacred shrine in Mecca. Muslims face the cuboid building, located at the centre of Islam’s mosque Al-Masjid al-Haram.
Following the call, Abraham set off for Mecca along with his wife and son, Ishmael, trekking across the barren land. In a dream, he saw himself sacrificing his son for Allah’s sake. When he told Ishmael what he had seen, his son asked him to carry out the commandment and said he was ready to give his life for God.
But when Abraham was about to sacrifice Ishmael, Allah spared the boy’s life and replaced him with a lamb – which is what Abraham ultimately sacrified.
To commemorate the sacrifice, Muslims sacrifice cows, lambs, goats, rams or other animals on Eid al-Adha and give the meat to the poor. According to the Islamic Research Foundation International, one third of the meat is eaten by immediate family and friends, one third is given to friends and one third is donated to the needy.
If some families do not have animals to slaughter, they can donate money to charities that will provide meat to the poor.