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Muslims Celebrate Eid al-Adha With Prayers

  • VOA News

Muslims around the world are celebrating the festival of Eid al-Adha with special prayers, meals and charitable donations to the needy.

Eid al-Adha, which began Tuesday, is one of two major religious feasts on the Islamic calendar. It comes about two months after Eid al-Fitr, when Muslims ended the holy fasting month of Ramadan with similar customs of prayer, feasting and charity.

Eid al-Adha coincides with the annual Muslim pilgrimage to the Saudi holy city of Mecca.

Muslims observe the festival to celebrate the biblical patriarch Abraham and their belief in his willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael at God's command. The faithful also believe God stopped Abraham from carrying out the sacrifice and gave him a lamb to slaughter instead.

On the day of Eid al-Adha, many Muslims join early morning communal prayers dressed in their best clothes and greet family and friends with gifts and the salutation of 'Eid Mubarak' ('Have a blessed Eid').

Those who can afford it also slaughter a cow, goat or sheep, keeping a portion to feed themselves and giving the rest to relatives and the poor. Many also donate money to charity to enable the poor to celebrate by buying new clothes and food.

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