Islam’s second major festival Eid al-Adha is just over a month away now, and Muslims all over the world are preparing for the huge event.
Following Eid al-Fitr, which saw Muslims fast for a total of 40 days, Eid al-Adha is a major holy period in the Islamic calendar.
Otherwise known as the ‘festival of sacrifice’ Eid al-Adha is considered the holier of the two occasions.
As with Eid al-Fitr, the festival is one of sharing, and Muslims will cook food for friends, family and the poor.
When is Eid al-Adha?
Eid Al Adha falls during the Dhu al-Hijjah, the twelfth month on the Islamic calendar.
As well as being the final month in the islamic calendar, the period captures both the month of pilgrimage and holier Eid.
The Islamic calendar differs a lot from the western Gregorian calendar, in that it runs off the lunar cycle, instead of the Gregorian solar cycle.
Each month, the sighting of a crescent moon is what officially decides the end date.
This practice means that each year, the dates for each month will fall back by roughly 11 days.
It is possible however to predict which dates Eid will take place on next year, due to astronomy and simple estimation, accounting for the 11-day annual difference.
United Arab Emirates-based Sharjah Centre for Astronomy & Space Sciences, has predicted that Eid al-Adha will start on August 22 this year.
Saudi Arabia’s Umm al-Qura calendar has placed Eid Al Adha on August 21.
People can expect Eid al-Adha will take place around this time, but official predictions will not come until the moon is officially sighted.
How do Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha?
Eid Al-Adha is celebrated as the ‘feast of the sacrifice’ which commemorates one of Islamic prophet Abraham’s most important trials.
Abraham was commanded by God to sacrifice his dearest possession, which meant he was to sacrifice his own son.
As Abraham was about to obey God’s command, his son was switched with a goat, which was sacrificed in his stead.
As a result, Muslims celebrate the ‘festival of the sacrifice’ every year with the sacrifice of an animal.
The sacrificed animal is then cooked and divided into three parts.
One share of the meat is given to friends and neighbours, one to the poor and needy, and one is retained by the family that cook it.
Families will also chant the takbir out loud before Eid prayers on the first day and after throughout the four days of Eid.
Everyone is expected to dress in their finest clothes for prayer, and muslims will congregate in an open field or mosque to take part.