Eid al-Adha

Eid al-Adha, also called Eid Qurban or Bakri-Eid, is the second of two Islamic holidays celebrated worldwide each year. The festive season that starts with the beginning of the monsoon continues and Muslims look forward to Eid al-Adha, also called Bakr Eid or Bakrid in India. Muslims across the world celebrate Eid al -Adha as the ‘festival of sacrifice.’ Bakrid is the second major Eid for the Muslims. While Eid-al-Fitr marks the end of the month-long fasting period of Ramadan, Bakrid is known to conclude the annual Haj pilgrimage. The date of Bakrid, according to the Islamic calendar, is supposed to be on the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah or the ‘month of the pilgrimage’. Muslims usually go on pilgrimage on the 8th, 9th, and 10th of the month culminating in the Eid al-Adha. In the Islamic lunar calendar, Eid al-Adha falls on the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah and lasts for four days. In the international (Gregorian) calendar, the dates vary from year to year shifting approximately 11 days earlier each year.

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Bakr Id/Eid ul-Adha is a public holiday. It is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed. National, state and local government offices, post offices and banks are closed on Eid al-Adha. Islamic stores, businesses, and other organizations may be closed or have reduced opening hours. Those wishing to use public transport on the day may need to contact the local transport authorities to check on timetables. Large scale prayer meetings may cause local disruption to traffic. This is particularly true of areas of India with a predominantly Muslim population.

On Eid al-Adha, many Muslims pray and listen to a sermon at a mosque nearby. They also wear new clothes, visit friends and family. Many Muslims symbolically sacrifice a goat or a sheep as an act of Qurbani. Special food is prepared on Eid al-Adha and shared with relatives. A portion of the food is also distributed among the poor and needy. This represents the sheep that God sent to Ibrahim to sacrifice in place of his son. On this day, Muslims sacrifice a goat, a sheep, or any other animal to commemorate the willingness of Ibrahim to surrender his son Ismael to fulfill Allah’s command. Ibrahim was determined to do what Allah wanted him to do. And on the day when he decided to make the supreme sacrifice, Shaitan attempted to dissuade him, but he drove the evil away and proceeded further. Allah was pleased by his devotion, and a message was sent through Jibreel to Ibrahim. And the message granted life to Ismael and Ibrahim was asked to offer a sheep instead. Therefore, on this day, Muslims sacrifice an animal and divide the meat into three equal portions. They keep one for themselves while they give the other two away to relatives and the needy. Fasting on Eid al-Adha and Eid ul-Fitr is strictly forbidden. Eid al-Adha, or Bakrid, celebrations usually last for three days. The festival is celebrated with a lot of fervor among Muslims around the world. Although, the traditions may vary according to the country and its own local customs. The celebrations include visits to mosques and offering of prayers for peace and prosperity, as well as a special feast that mainly contains mutton preparations. Some of the most delicious Bakrid feast dishes include mutton biryani, mutton korma, mutton keema, bhuni kaleji, as well as a range of delectable desserts like sheer khurma and kheer.

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Since India celebrates a day after Saudi Arabia, except certain states, this year Eid al-Adha will be celebrated on August 1, a day after Saudi. However, Kerala, like Saudi, will celebrate on July 31. This year however celebrations are likely to be low key amid the coronavirus pandemic.  In Ahmedabad, for instance, animal sacrifice in public places or animal processions in the city have been prohibited. Given all the restrictions and safety measures on account of the coronavirus pandemic, Bakrid will only be celebrated with one’s direct family that one lives with, however, you can always wish your near and dear ones from a distance and not breach any safety measures.

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