Muslims around the world, including over two million Brits, are currently celebrating Eid al-Adha – the second of the Islamic holy festivals this year.
In June Muslims celebrated the end of Ramadan with Eid al-Fitr , while Eid al-Adha , also known as the ‘Festival of the Sacrifice’, coincides with the end of the annual pilgrimage to Hajj.
This pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia sees Muslims complete important religious rites, if they are physically and financially able to do so. It ends in the evening of 14 August.
Eid al-Adha commemorates the story of the Muslim prophet, Ibrahim. He was said to have been tested on his faith, asked to sacrifice his son by God. According to the sacred book of Islam, the Quran, God replaced Ibrahim’s son with a lamb, which was sacrificed instead.
How do Muslims spend the day on Eid al-Adha?
Special Muslim prayers, called Salat al-Eid, are held in the morning of the first day of Eid al-Adha. People gather to mark the festival in a large congregation.
Men, women, and children dress in their finest clothing; and once the prayers have finished they embrace, offer Eid greetings ( Eid Mubarak ) and exchange gifts.
Many Muslims will then take the opportunity to visit family, friends and neighbours. Some invite non-Muslim friends to the festivities, so that they can learn more about Islam and aspects of Muslim culture.
Later on in the day, Muslims will gather with their friends and family to enjoy a large feast.
Sometimes Muslims visit the graves of their loved ones on Eid al-Adha, so they can pray for them and commemorate them on such a special day.
What do people eat on Eid al-Adha?
Due to the amount of savoury dishes consumed during Eid al-Adha, it is sometimes called the “Salty Eid”. This contrasts with sweeter foods eaten during Eid al-Fitr.
In both festivals, special pastries made up of dates and nuts , Ma’amoul are traditionally enjoyed.
The types of dishes that are enjoyed in the festival vary across the world, with an estimated 1.8 billion celebrating this Islamic festival.
In Morocco, lamb tagine is a popular savoury dish, slow-cooked and packed with vegetables. Whereas in the Indian subcontinent, Korma may be served with vegan-friendly substitutes.
In some countries people commemorate Eid al-Adha by carrying out a Qurbani – or sacrifice in Arabic.
Around the world, Muslims slaughter an animal according to traditions and reflect on the story of Ibrahim’s sacrifice.
According to international aid charity, Islamic Relief UK, the animal is typically a sheep, goat or camel. At least one third of the animal’s meat must go to poor or vulnerable people. Another third may go to neighbours, while the family itself would keep a third of the sacrificed animal’s meat.