Muslims Celebrate Eid al-Adha With Prayers
A Muslim girl holds a balloon during a morning prayer marking the Eid al-Adha holiday on a street in Jakarta, Indonesia, Oct. 15, 2013.
Muslims travel on the roof of a train as they head to their homes ahead of Eid al-Adha as others wait at a railway station in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Oct. 15, 2013.
Members of the Afghan guard of honor perform Eid al-Adha prayers outside a mosque at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, Oct 15, 2013.
Afghan men prepare to slaughter a buffalo during Eid al-Adha at Kacha Garhi Afghan refugee camp, located in the outskirts of Peshawar, Pakistan, Oct. 15, 2013.
An Egyptian man holds a knife after slaughtering an animal on the first day of Eid al-Adha in Cairo, Oct. 15, 2013.
Butcher Hossam Hassan cuts lamb during Eid Al-Adha rituals in Maadi, Cairo, Oct. 15, 2013. (Hamada Elrasam for VOA)
A young Palestinian girl attends prayers on the first day of Eid al-Adha at Al-Yarmouk stadium in Gaza City, Oct. 15, 2013.
Muslims pray outside Moscow's main mosque during celebrations of Eid al-Adha, Oct. 15, 2013.
PHOTOS: Muslims Mark Eid al-Adha
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.