Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012
Eid al-Adha: October 26
Eid al-Adha (the Festival of Sacrifice) celebrates Ibrahim’s (Abraham in Christianity and Judaism) obedience to God in nearly sacrificing his son Ishmael (Ismael), but instead was able to sacrifice a ram in his place. It is celebrated on the 10th day of the month of the lunar Islamic calendar following Hajj, Muslims’ annual pilgrimage to Mecca. Since Eid begins at the first sighting of the new moon, the date varies by one day depending on whether the Saudi Arabian or North American sighting is observed. Making Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam, together with the belief in one God and Prophet Muhammad, the practice of five daily prayers, alms-giving to the poor and self-purification through fasting during the month of Ramadan.
Eid is a festive holiday for giving thanks. People celebrate by wearing new clothes, feasting on good food and visiting with family and friends. Many people also make preparations to leave for Hajj or leave around this time. Families traditionally sacrifice a sheep or goat (which have to meet certain age and quality standards, such as not younger than one year of age) and divide the meat in thirds. The family eats one third, another third is given to relatives and neighbors and the final third is given as a gift to the poor. It is an important custom that no poor person should be left without food during this holiday.
The story of the sacrifice is found in both the Qur’an and Old Testament and is an important story for Muslims, Christians and Jews. In the Muslim version (the three religions differ on which son Ibrahim took to sacrifice), Ibrahim was commanded by God to sacrifice Ishmael. He obeyed and took him to Mount Moriah. As he was about to sacrifice his son, an angel stopped him and gave him a ram to sacrifice instead.
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