Histories & Culture
Eid al-Ad'ha

Eid al-Ad’ha (feast of the sacrifice) marks the end of the hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, which is one of the five pillars of Islam. It is celebrated on the 10th day of the month of Dhul Hijja in the lunar Muslim calendar. For those not performing the pilgrimage, the feast is one of communal prayer followed by the sacrifice of an animal. Eid al-Adha celebrates and commemorates Abraham’s willingness to obey God and sacrifice his only son for God.


The place of Abraham's sacrifice is believed to be the city of Mina (about 70km from Mecca). The pillars at Mina symbolize the devil's tempting of Abraham to abandon the sacrifice, and are stoned by the pilgrims during the hajj.


On the morning of Eid al-Adha, Muslims assemble at the communal place of prayer (musalla) for the Eid. After prayers, each head of household scarifies an animal, usually a sheep. The person states the purpose of the sacrifice, then slaughters the animal by cutting both windpipe and jugular in one stroke of a very sharp knife. The meat is shared with neighbors, relatives and the needy.


The celebration and family visits continue for three days. Eid al-Ad’ha also is known as the Eid al-kabir, or Great Feast.