Accessibility links

Eid al-Adha Celebrations Marked in Jakarta - 2003-02-12

Millions of Muslims around the world are celebrating Eid al-Adha - or the Feast of the Sacrifice. The three-day celebration marks the conclusion of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.

Workers at the Istiqlal mosque in central Jakarta stuff pieces of goat meat into plastic bags to hand out as part of the Eid al-Adha celebration. Outside, scores of people strain against the iron fences as they wait in line to receive their portions.

The line remains orderly, but for some, patience is running thin. One lady says she and her family have been waiting since morning - since seven o'clock - and they have not received anything yet. Another man is luckier - he says he only had to wait an hour, and he is very pleased now to have received his share of goat meat.

Millions of Muslims the world over mark Eid al-Adha by slaughtering goats, sheep and cows - and giving gifts of meat to the poor. The "Feast of Sacrifice," as Eid is known, commemorates the prophet Abraham's decision to obey a command from God, or Allah, to sacrifice his only son, Ishmael. When Allah saw Abraham's devotion, he decided to spare Ishmael, telling Abraham to sacrifice a sheep instead.

The holiday also marks the end of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca - one of the Islamic calendar's most important events.

Every year, millions of Muslims from around the world travel to worship in the Islamic holy city of Mecca, in Saudi Arabia. All Muslims are supposed to make the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their lives if they are physically and financially able.

Indonesia has more Muslim people than any other nation. Its government is secular and the vast majority of the country's 210 million people practice a moderate form of Islam, although some small groups represent more extremist views.