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Eid-ul-Adha, known as the ‘Festival of the Sacrifice’, is the most important holiday for the Islamic community, it is a day of celebration and remembrance. There are two Eid’s, Eid al Fitr and Eid al Adha.
Eid al Fitr, known as the festival of breaking fast, is celebrated at the end of Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting.
This year Eid al Fitr was celebrated on May 12 to 13.
Eid al-Adha is the second Eid, it is celebrated about two months later around the same time when many Muslims attend the Hajj pilgrimage.
The festival remembers prophet Ibrahim’s devotion to God, as he showed his willingness to sacrifice his son when God ordered him to.
Nicknamed ‘Big Eid’, Eid al-Adha is said to be the holier of the two Eids.
Eid does not fall on the same day each year in a similar way to the Christian celebration of Easter Sunday.
The dates of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha correlate to the Islamic lunar calendar and the sighting of the crescent moon which signals the changing month.
The sighting of the new moon for Dhu al-Hijjah varies between countries, so the exact timings depend on local religious authorities.
The festival lasts for four days.
This period often becomes a national public holiday in traditional or majority Muslim countries such as the United Arab Emirates and Indonesia.
Eid al-Adha, based on the current predictions of the sighting of the new moon will begin on July 19 this year and end on July 23.
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The celebration sees families coming together to pray, feast and exchange gifts with loved ones.
This year’s celebrations are likely to be a little more restrained than usual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Celebrations vary between countries and every family marks the occasion differently but there are some common festivities.
Before the outbreak of COVID-19, the day would typically start with morning prayer at a mosque.
This would be followed by friends and family coming together to give gifts and to share a meal.
In some countries, Muslims sacrifice a sheep or goat to symbolise the lamb Allah gave to Ibrahim to sacrifice instead of his son, in the UK this animal is killed at a slaughterhouse.
Homes are decorated to mark the occasion and new or the best clothes a person may have are worn.
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