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Muslims have only two official religious feasts, Eid Al-Fitr, which comes after the fasting month of Ramadan, and Eid-Al-Adha, which comes on 10 of Dhu al-Hijjah in the Hijri lunar calendar. This year, Eid Al-Adha occured on October 25. The Eid holiday usually lasts 5 days, starting from 9 Dhu Al-Hijjah to 13 Dhu Al-Hijjah.
The Hirji Lunar calendar is also called the Islamic calendar. It consists of 12 months and 355 or 354 days and is used by Muslim people to determine the Islamic occasions as feasts, pilgrimage and fasting.
Eid Al-Adha means ‘Feast of the Sacrifice” because every family or household should sacrifice one lamb, goat, sheep or one seventh cow or camel. The cow or camel could be sacrificed by 7 families, according to the Islamic teachings.
The sacrificed animal is called Udhiyyah. The meat of the Udhiyyah should be divided into 3 parts. One third is for the family members while the other parts should be given to the relatives and neighbors; also, it would be better to be given to the most needy among them. Sacrificing must be done after the Eid prayer. It’s preferred to have the Eid day breakfast from Udhiyyah; usually, it is the liver and heart.
The Eid prayer can be done at any time after sun rise but before the noon time. All the prayer attendants should dress up in new clothes or the best clothes they have.
Traditionally, in some Islamic countries such as Palestine, Syria and Turkey, they visit the cemeteries during the Eid days. Also, in most of the countries, usually the parents and the elder relatives and neighbors give their children some extra money. This money is called Eidya.
According to the Islamic resources, on 10 Dhu al-Hijjah about four thousand years ago Allah (The God) instructed the prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) to give his son Ismael (Ishmael) as a sacrifice to test his faith. After that the prophet Ibrahim decided to follow the command and asked his son about it. The answer from Ismael was to agree for the command without any reservation or objection at all. After starting slaughtering Ismael, the Prophet Ibrahim found a ram replacing his son. So this day became celebrated annually by Muslims to sacrifice during the Eid Al-Adha.
Other Islamic events during Eid days would occur in Mecca, which is Hajj. The Hajj is the pilgrimage to Mecca, which is a must to all Muslims if they can do it.
On 9 Dhu Al-Hijjah the pilgrims go to Arfa mount, which is the main pillar of the Hajj. This day is called Day of Arafa. Arafa mount is located 22 km from the Grand mosque in Mecca. It’s recommended for non-pilgrim Muslims to fast this day, while the pilgrims are not allowed to fast.
On the 10 Dhu Al-Hijjah, the pilgrims must stone a wall, referred to as the devil, with seven pebbles as a part of Hajj performance in a place called ‘large Jamara’. Also, they have to sacrifice. In the previous years, they used to sacrifice a goats, sheeps , camels or cow by themselves, while right now they pay the cost of the sacrifice to the Saudi government, who will complete the sacrifice on their behalf for hygienic reasons. In the previous years, the streets used to be ful of blood and dirt after millions of pilgrims sacrificed their animal.
After that, the pilgrims go to cut their hair and to wear regular dresses rather than Ihram cloths. The Ihram clothes consist of 2 un-hemmed sheets. In the following 3 days the pilgrims must stone the devil in 3 different places called Jamarat, each one with 7 pebbles.
The greeting for your Muslims friends and colleagues should be Eid Mubarak or Happy Eid. Mubarak means blessed. And the greeting for pilgrims should be Hajj Mabrour. Mabrous means accepted.