Eid al-Adha 2017: When is it? Everything you need to know about the Muslim holiday

Celebration held to commemorate the story of Ibrahim which coincides with the Hajj pilgrimage is the holiest event of the Muslim year 

Tuesday 29 August 2017 12:28
comments
Women in the West Bank town of Hebron make pastries filled with dates or nuts, known as maamoul, on 28 August 2017 in preparation for Eid al-Adha celebrations later this week
Women in the West Bank town of Hebron make pastries filled with dates or nuts, known as maamoul, on 28 August 2017 in preparation for Eid al-Adha celebrations later this week

Eid al-Adha, or ‘the feast of the sacrifice’, is the second Eid festival of the calendar year, which honours Ibrahim’s commitment to God when ordered to offer up his only son - not named in the Qu’ran as Ismail but widely accepted in Islamic literature as so - as a sacrifice.

As he prepared to carry out the act, Satan appeared to Ibrahim attempting to deter him from his task, but the devout man threw stones to repel the devil.

At the last second, God sent the angel Jibra'il to replace the boy with a ram. In other versions of the story, the knife is flipped out of Ibrahim’s hand or copper appears over the boy’s throat, preventing the sacrifice.

Ibrahim, astonished to see his son unharmed, was praised for his devotion and willingness to surrender himself to Allah.

Eid al-Adha is one of the holiest celebrations in Islam and marks the end of the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia which must be undetaken once in a lifetime all physically and financially capable Muslims.

Eid al-Fitr, which this year fell in June, is held to celebrate the end of the month-long fasting period of Ramadan.

When does Eid al-Adha begin?

Like other Islamic celebrations, Eid al-Adha by the lunar calendar, and always begins on the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah - known as Arafat Day, or the climax of the annual Hajj pilgrimage period. In the Gregorian system, the date can vary over a period of 11 days.

In 2017 the celebration begins on Friday 1 September, although in Muslim majority countries the public holiday often starts the day before. In Pakistan, the festival will start on Saturday 2 September. The date is set when the closest new moon is seen.

Iran: Thousands mourn victims of Hajj stampede

How long does it last?

Eid al-Adha is marked by a four or five day public holiday in most Muslim countries - although in Turkey and Qatar celebrations last for 10 days and in Saudi Arabia a whole fortnight.

A three day holiday is being held in Ghana, Nigeria and Uganda.

How is it celebrated?

Muslims put on smart clothes for morning prayers both before and after sunrise, which are followed by family meals and the exchanging of gifts.

In remembrance of the Ibrahim story, a goat or sheep is often slaughtered. One third of the meat is consumed by the family, another for friends and relatives and the last part for those in need.

The period is seen as an important time for charity work.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments