The Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha, also called the “Festival of Sacrifice,” commemorates a common story of devotion found in all Abrahamic religions--that of Ibrahim (Abraham) agreeing to sacrifice his son to God as an act of obedience (CNN). Eid al-Adha is seen as the holier of two large Muslim festivals, the other being Eid al-Fitr, a festival that marks the end of the fasting period Ramadan (CNN). Eid al-Adha is celebrated on the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah, the 12th and most sacred month of the Islamic year, which follows the lunar calendar (Timeanddate). It is also when the Hajj, a pilgrimage to Mecca that all able-bodied Muslims must complete within their lifetime, takes place (Timeanddate). As the story goes, Ibrahim and his wife, who had longed for a child for years, are finally given one in their old age. However, when God asks them to sacrifice their child to him as a test of their devotion, the couple dutifully journeys to Mecca to make the sacrifice (Javed). The devil attempts to waylay them along the way, but Ibrahim and his wife throw stones at the devil and finally reach Mecca (Javed). In the last moments before Ibrahim performs the sacrifice of his son, God recognizes Ibrahim’s willingness to abide by his orders and spares the son’s life by providing a lamb to be sacrificed in his place. Ibrahim sacrifices the lamb, giving one third to the needy, one third to his relatives, and one third for his home (CNN).
As a remembrance of Ibrahim’s act, some Muslims sacrifice animals during the holiday (CNN). Those who do sacrifice often share their meat with the poor, and many others donate to charities to help the needy (CNN). It is also very common to exchange gifts with loved ones on this day (CNN). Stones are sometimes thrown at symbolic pillars to commemorate the casting out of Satan (Javed). While the practices for this holiday vary by family and culture, it is common for Muslims to begin the day by reading “Salat al-Eid,” a special prayer for honoring the festival (Javed). This is followed by the sacrifice, and the rest of the day is spent going around to different relatives’ houses, eating and spending time together (Javed). In Canada, the Muslim Association of Canada (MAC) organizes festivals to celebrate Eid al-Adha, often offering carnival rides, live performances, sports tournaments, and foods from all over the world (Timeanddate). Eid al-Adha is a time for forgiveness and compassion—a time to remember God’s mercy and to show mercy to others.
“5 Things to Know about Eid Al-Adha.” CNN, Cable News Network, 21 Aug. 2018, www.cnn.com/2018/08/21/world/eid-al-adha-tradition-celebration-trnd/index.html.
Javed, Saman. “Everything You Need to Know about Eid Al-Adha.” The Independent, Independent Digital News and Media, 20 Aug. 2018, www.independent.co.uk/life-style/eid-al-adha-2018-when-is-islam-sacrifice-date-time-muslim-a8496381.html.