On November 16, Muslims around the world will celebrate Eid al-Adha also known as “Feast of the
Sacrifice” or Greater Eid (the Arabic word “Eid” means festival and the word “Adha” means sacrifice).
The feast lasts for four days and is a public holiday in Muslim countries.
Eid al-Adha is the feast of commitment, obedience and self sacrifice to Allah (God).
In the Muslim calender, a holiday begins on the sunset of the previous day, so observing Muslims will celebrate Eid al-Adha on the sunset of Monday, the 15th of November.
Although Eid al-Adha is always on the same day of the Islamic calendar, the date on the Gregorian calendar varies from year to year, since the Gregorian calendar is a solar calendar and the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar. This difference means Eid al-Adha moves in the Gregorian calendar approximately 11 days every year. The date of Eid al-Adha may also vary from country to country depending on whether the moon has been sighted or not. Exact date depends on moonsighting announcement in Mecca.
Eid al-Adha is one of the two most important Islamic Eids, the other being Eid al-Fitr, the Feast of Fast-Breaking, which follows Ramadan, the month of fasting.
Eid al-Adha marks the end of the HAJJ (the annual pilgrimage to Mecca), where Muslims commemorate the trials and triumphs of the Prophet Abraham.
Eid al-Adha is celebrated throughout the Muslim world as a commemoration of Prophet Abraham's (Ibrahim)willingness to
sacrifice everything for God, including the life of his son Ishmael (Isma’il).
Because God spared Ishmael, substituting a sheep in his stead, Muslims commemorate this occasion by slaughtering an animal.
The meat is divided into three equal parts. The family retains one third of the share, another third is given to relatives, friends and neighbours, and the other third is given to the poor and needy.
Because of this, many poor Muslims are able to enjoy the unusual luxury of eating meat during the days of the festival.
The sacrifice itself is not related to atoning for sins or using the blood to wash themselves from sin. “It is not their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah; it is your piety that reaches Him." (Qur'an 22:37)
Thank you Angela Nilsson for this article.