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When is Eid al-Adha and how is it celebrated?

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The second significant religious festival of Islam, Eid al-Adha, will begin on the evening of Monday, 19 July this year.

The first of the two observances is Eid al-Fitr, which was observed in May to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

“Eid al-Adha is one of two Eids, or days of celebration for Muslims worldwide, in a year,” a spokesperson for the Muslim Council of Britain tells The Independent.

They explain that the festival coincides with the completion of Hajj, “which millions of people partake in every year”.

However, in light of the coronavirus pandemic, Hajj commenced much fewer pilgrims than the usual 2.5 million people who usually attend. This year, just 60,000 of Saudia Araba’s own citizens and residents have been allowed to take part.

Known as the “festival of sacrifice”, Eid al-Adha commemorates the prophet Ibrahim’s readiness to sacrifice his son in order to demonstrate his dedication to God.

Here is everything you need to know about Eid al-Adha:

What is its significance?

During the festival of Eid al-Adha, Muslims acknowledge the devotion of Ibrahim, who was willing to sacrifice his son, Ismail, under the order of Allah SWT (God).

Eid al-Adha celebrations around the world

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1/40Eid al-Adha celebrations around the world

Eid al-Adha celebrations around the world

Muslim pilgrims throw stones towards the symbolic devil represented by a Jamarat (Burning Coal) on the last day of the Muslims Hajj 2018 pilgrimage in the tent City of Mina near Mecca, Saudi Arabia

EPA

Eid al-Adha celebrations around the world

People at a fairground set up celebrate Eid Al-Adha in Burgess Park, south London

REUTERS

Eid al-Adha celebrations around the world

Ivorian Muslims pray during the first day of the Muslim festival of Eid-al- Adha in Abidjan

EPA

Eid al-Adha celebrations around the world

People take a selfie during Eid-El-Kabir festival in Dakar

AFP/Getty

Eid al-Adha celebrations around the world

Girls pose with a frame decorated with holiday wishes after Eid al-Adha prayers, held in a sports hall in Bucharest, Romania

AP

Eid al-Adha celebrations around the world

A Palestinian man throws his child in the air following morning prayers marking the first day of Eid al-Adha celebrations

Reuters

Eid al-Adha celebrations around the world

Jamil, eight months-old, lies on the floor during Eid al-Adha prayers, held in a sports hall in Bucharest, Romania

AP

Eid al-Adha celebrations around the world

A Muslim pilgrim arrives to throw stones towards the symbolic devil represented by a Jamarat

EPA

Eid al-Adha celebrations around the world

Muslim pilgrims head to take part in the symbolic stoning of the devil at the Jamarat Bridge in Mina, near Mecca

AFP/Getty Images

Eid al-Adha celebrations around the world

Families enjoy rides on the dodgems during an Eid in the Park celebration at the New River Sports ground in Wood Green, London

Getty

Eid al-Adha celebrations around the world

Ivorian Muslims pray during the first day of the Muslim festival of Eid-al- Adha in Abidjan

EPA

Eid al-Adha celebrations around the world

Muslims attend a morning prayer at the industrial wasteland of Parco Dora in Turin

AFP/Getty

Eid al-Adha celebrations around the world

A boy cast stones at the huge stone pillar in the symbolic stoning of the devil during the annual Haj pilgrimage on the first day of Eid al-Adha in Mina, outside the holy city of Mecca

AP

Eid al-Adha celebrations around the world

Members of Naples’ muslim community gather at Garibaldi Square

EPA

Eid al-Adha celebrations around the world

A Syrian boy, dressed in his holiday outfit, prays over the tomb of a loved one

AFP/Getty

Eid al-Adha celebrations around the world

Men prepare to eat during Eid al-Adha celebrations in the village of Kok-Jare outside Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

EPA

Eid al-Adha celebrations around the world

Palestinians attend prayer on the first day of Eid al Adha in Gaza City

EPA

Eid al-Adha celebrations around the world

A man attends a Muslim morning prayer gathering at the industrial wasteland of Parco Dora in Turin

AFP/Getty

Eid al-Adha celebrations around the world

Cairo, Egypt

Muslims try to catch balloons distributed for free after Eid al-Adha prayers outside al-Seddik mosque in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, August 21.

AP

Eid al-Adha celebrations around the world

Afghans greet each other after congregational prayers during the holy festival of Eid al-Adha, in Kabul

EPA

Eid al-Adha celebrations around the world

A man distributes sweets to children after Eid al-Adha prayer at King Abdul Aziz Mosque, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

EPA

Eid al-Adha celebrations around the world

Kosovo boys pray to mark the first day of Eid al-Adha outside the Sultan Mehmet Fatih mosque in Pristina

AP

Eid al-Adha celebrations around the world

A child holds up a selfie stick before morning prayers in Quezon City, Philippines

EPA

Eid al-Adha celebrations around the world

Muslim Hajj pigrims pray around the holy Kaaba at the Grand Mosque on the first day of Eid al Adha in Mecca

EPA

Eid al-Adha celebrations around the world

Palestinians attend prayer on the first day of Eid al Adha in Gaza City

EPA

Eid al-Adha celebrations around the world

Palestinians attend prayer on the first day of Eid al Adha in Gaza City

EPA

Eid al-Adha celebrations around the world

A clown distributes balloons near the Dome of the Rock at al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem’s old city on the first day of Eid al-Adha

AFP/Getty

Eid al-Adha celebrations around the world

A young Palestinian girl flies a helium balloon near the Dome of the Rock at al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem’s old city

AFP/Getty

Eid al-Adha celebrations around the world

Women and children conduct morning prayers to mark Eid al-Adha at a public park in Quezon City, Philippines

EPA

Eid al-Adha celebrations around the world

Muslim Hajj pigrims pray around the holy Kaaba at the Grand Mosque on the first day of Eid al Adha in Mecca

EPA

Eid al-Adha celebrations around the world

Men hug each other after offering Eid al-Adha prayers outside of the Shah-e-Dushamshera mosque in Kabul

AP

Eid al-Adha celebrations around the world

Children dressed in their holiday clothes play on a swing in the opposition-held southern Syrian city of Daraa on the first day of Eid al-Adha

AFP/Getty

Eid al-Adha celebrations around the world

Bamako, Mali

Malian women have their hair cut and styled in a salon, on the eve of Eid al-Adha in Bamako on August 20, 2018.

AFP/Getty

Eid al-Adha celebrations around the world

Almaty, Kazakhstan

A man squats as he carries a sheep during a competition to mark Kurban-Ait, also known as Eid al-Adha, at the Central Mosque in Almaty, Kazakhstan August 21, 2018.

Reuters

Eid al-Adha celebrations around the world

Nairobi, Kenya

Muslims attend prayers to mark Kurban-Ait, also known as Eid al-Adha, at an open field in Nairobi, Kenya August 21, 2018.

Reuters

Eid al-Adha celebrations around the world

Kavaja, Albania

Albanian Muslims pray in the main square of Kavaja on August 21, 2018, to mark the first day of the Eid al-Adha Festival.

AFP/Getty

Eid al-Adha celebrations around the world

Gaza City

Palestinian women take a selfie while waiting for for prayers on the first day of Eid al-Adha festival, in Gaza City August 21, 2018.

Reuters

Eid al-Adha celebrations around the world

Muscat, Oman

Muslim men take part in the morning prayers outside a mosque in the Omani capital Muscat on the first day of Eid al-Adha on August 21, 2018.

AFP/Getty

Eid al-Adha celebrations around the world

Pristina, Kosovo

Kosovo men pray to mark the first day of Eid al-Adha outside the Sultan Mehmet Fatih mosque in Pristina, Kosovo, Tuesday, August 21, 2018.

AP

Eid al-Adha celebrations around the world

Beirut, Lebanon

Muslims perform the Eid al-Adha prayer outside Al Ameen Mosque in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, 21 August 2018

EPA

Ibrahim, also known as Abraham, is a prominent figure in Islam, Judaism and Christianity.

“This story in different versions is in the Quran, the Bible, and the Old Testament, which shows the common heritage of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam,” states the United Religions Initiative.

According to the Quran – the sacred religious book of Islam – just as Ibrahim was about to sacrifice his son, God replaced Ismail with a lamb, which was sacrificed instead.

“This command from Allah SWT was a test of Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness and commitment to obey his Lord’s command, without question. Therefore, Eid al-Adha means the festival of sacrifice,” states UK-based charity Muslim Aid.

What is the difference between Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr?

Eid al-Adha and Eid-al-Fitr are the two major religious festivals observed in the religion of Islam.

Eid al-Fitr, which was celebrated in May in countries across the world, translates in Arabic to mean “the feast of the breaking of the fast”.

The festival marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month which involves Muslims fasting during daylight hours for 29 to 30 days.

Eid al-Adha coincides with Hajj, the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, in Saudi Arabia.

In pictures: Muslim pilgrims gather on Mount Arafat for Hajj

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1/19In pictures: Muslim pilgrims gather on Mount Arafat for Hajj

In pictures: Muslim pilgrims gather on Mount Arafat for Hajj

Muslim pilgrims gather on Mount Arafat (or the Mount of Mercy), where the Prophet Muhammad is believed to have delivered his final sermon

Reuters

In pictures: Muslim pilgrims gather on Mount Arafat for Hajj

A Muslim pilgrim prays as another takes a photo on the Mount Arafat

AP

In pictures: Muslim pilgrims gather on Mount Arafat for Hajj

Muslim pilgrims arrive at the plains of Arafat

Reuters

In pictures: Muslim pilgrims gather on Mount Arafat for Hajj

Muslim pilgrims arrive at the plains of Arafat

AP

In pictures: Muslim pilgrims gather on Mount Arafat for Hajj

Mount Arafat during the Hajj

EPA

In pictures: Muslim pilgrims gather on Mount Arafat for Hajj

Muslim pilgrims pray on Mount Arafat (or Jabal ar-Rahmah) during the Hajj

AP

In pictures: Muslim pilgrims gather on Mount Arafat for Hajj

Muslim pilgrims pray by the Namira Mosque on the plains of Arafat during Hajj

Reuters

In pictures: Muslim pilgrims gather on Mount Arafat for Hajj

Muslim pilgrims pray by the Namira Mosque on the plains of Arafat during Hajj

Reuters

In pictures: Muslim pilgrims gather on Mount Arafat for Hajj

Muslim pilgrims gather on Mount Arafat (or the Mount of Mercy) during the Hajj

AFP/Getty

In pictures: Muslim pilgrims gather on Mount Arafat for Hajj

A Muslim pilgrim wheels his children on a wheelchair towards Mount Arafat

AP

In pictures: Muslim pilgrims gather on Mount Arafat for Hajj

Pilgrims circle the Kaaba as they pray in the Grand Mosque of Mecca ahead of the Hajj

AP

In pictures: Muslim pilgrims gather on Mount Arafat for Hajj

Muslim pilgrims arrive at the plains of Arafat

Reuters

In pictures: Muslim pilgrims gather on Mount Arafat for Hajj

Muslim pilgrims gather on Mount Arafat (or Jabal ar-Rahmah) during the Hajj

EPA

In pictures: Muslim pilgrims gather on Mount Arafat for Hajj

Muslim pilgrims gather on Mount Arafat (or the Mount of Mercy) during the Hajj

AFP/Getty

In pictures: Muslim pilgrims gather on Mount Arafat for Hajj

Muslim pilgrims shelter from the sun under a bridge near Mecca

EPA

In pictures: Muslim pilgrims gather on Mount Arafat for Hajj

Muslim pilgrims walk towards Namirah mosque on Mount Arafat during the Hajj

AP

In pictures: Muslim pilgrims gather on Mount Arafat for Hajj

Muslim pilgrims gather on Mount Arafat (or Jabal ar-Rahmah) during the Hajj

AFP/Getty

In pictures: Muslim pilgrims gather on Mount Arafat for Hajj

Muslim pilgrims gather on Mount Arafat (or the Mount of Mercy) during the Hajj

AFP/Getty

In pictures: Muslim pilgrims gather on Mount Arafat for Hajj

Muslim pilgrims gather on Mount Arafat (or Jabal ar-Rahmah) during the Hajj

AFP/Getty

When is it?

This year, Eid al-Adha begins on the evening of Monday 19 July and ends on the evening of Friday 23 July.

How is the date of Eid al-Adha decided?

The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, meaning the dates of annual events may vary on an annual basis in accordance with the phases of the moon.

Eid al-Adha takes places on the 10th day of the final month of the Islamic calendar, Dhu al-Hijjah.

Dhu al-Hijjah is the 12th and most sacred month of the Islamic year, during which observant Muslims travel to Mecca for Hajj.

All able-bodied adults of the Islamic faith are expected to complete Hajj at least once in their lifetimes.

How is the festival celebrated?

As Eid al-Adha commemorates the sacrifice made by the prophet Ibrahim, Muslims typically celebrate the festival by carrying out a Qurbani, meaning “sacrifice” in Arabic.

The animal that is sacrificed – which is usually a goat, sheep, cow or camel – is separated into three parts.

“At least one third of the meat from the animal must go to poor or vulnerable people,” states international aid organisation Islamic Relief.

“Traditionally, a Muslim would keep one third of the meat for their family and give the final third to their neighbours.”

During the morning of Eid al-Adha, a special prayer called Salat al-Eid is recited in honour of the festival, ahead of the Dhuhr prayer at noon.

Muslims traditionally dress in fine clothes in celebration of Eid al-Adha, in addition to exchanging gifts.

Eidi is the Arabic word for a gift given to children by relatives during Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr.

What food is eaten during Eid al-Adha?

While Eid al-Fitr is known as “sweet Eid”, Eid al-Adha is contrarily known as “salty Eid”.

As such, the food eaten during the second festival is predominantly savoury, including the animal which is sacrificed during the observance.

Arabian pastries called Ma’amoul are also eaten during both Eid festivals, as well as at night during the holy month of Ramadan.

Ma’amoul are made using ingredients including dates and nuts, and are often served in a ball or cookie shape.

How do you wish someone a happy Eid?

The phrase widely used to wish someone a happy Eid during Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr is Eid Mubarak.

In Arabic, this phrase translates to mean “Blessed Eid”.

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