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Thursday, 26 November 2009
Eid al-Adha (Arabic: عيد الأضحى) "Festival of Sacrifice" or "Greater Eid" is a holiday celebrated by Muslims (including the Druze) worldwide to commemorate the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God.
Eid al-Adha is the latter of two Eid festivals celebrated by Muslims, whose basis comes from the Quran. Like Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha begins with a short prayer followed by a sermon (khuṭba).
Eid al-Adha annually falls on the 10th day of the month of Dhul Hijja (ذو الحجة) of the lunar Islamic calendar. The festivities last for three days or more depending on the country. Eid al-Adha occurs the day after the pilgrims conducting Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia by Muslims worldwide, descend from Mount Arafat. It happens to be approximately 70 days after the end of the month of Ramadan.
Traditions and practices
Men, women, and children are expected to dress in their finest clothing to perform Eid prayer (ṣalātu l-`Īdi) in a large congregation in an open area or mosque. Muslims who can afford to do so sacrifice their best domestic animals (usually sheep, but also camels, cows and goats) as a symbol of Ibrahim's sacrifice. The sacrificed animals, called uḍiyyah (Arabic: أضحية, also known as "al-qurbāni"), have to meet certain age and quality standards or else the animal is considered an unacceptable sacrifice. Generally, these must be at least a year old.
The regular charitable practices of the Muslim community are demonstrated during Eid al-Adha by the concerted effort to see that no impoverished person is left without sacrificial food during these days.
Distributing meat among people is considered an essential part of the festival during this period, as well as chanting Takbir out loud before the Eid prayer on the first day and after prayers through out the four days of Eid. (See Takbir in "Traditions and practices" of Eid el-Fitr.) In some countries families that do not own livestock can make a contribution to a charity that will provide meat to those who are in need.
Eid al-Adha in the Gregorian calendar
While Eid al-Adha is always on the same day of the Islamic calendar, the date on the Gregorian calendar varies from year to year since the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar and the Gregorian calendar is a solar calendar. The lunar calendar is approximately eleven days shorter than the solar calendar. Each year, Eid al-Adha (like other Islamic holidays) falls on one of two different Gregorian dates in different parts of the world, due to the fact that the boundary of crescent visibility is different from the International date line.
The following list shows the official dates of Eid al-Adha for Saudi Arabia as announced by the Supreme Judicial Council. Future dates are calculated according to the Umm al-Qura calendar of Saudi Arabia. The three days after the listed date are also part of the festival. The time before the listed date the pilgrims visit the Mount Arafat and descend from it after sunrise of the listed day. Future dates of Eid al-Adha might face correction 10 days before the festivity, in case of deviant lunar sighting in Saudi Arabia for the start of the month Dhul Hijja.
1427 (Islamic Calendar): December 30, 2006 announced (calculated date: December 31, 2006)
1428 (Islamic Calendar): December 19, 2007 announced (calculated date: December 20, 2007)
1429 (Islamic Calendar): December 8, 2008 announced (calculated date: same)
1430 (Islamic Calendar): November 27, 2009 announced (calculated date: same)
1431 (Islamic Calendar): November 16, 2010 (calculated)
1432 (Islamic Calendar): November 6, 2011 (calculated)
1433 (Islamic Calendar): October 26, 2012 (calculated)
1434 (Islamic Calendar): October 15, 2013 (calculated)
1435 (Islamic Calendar): October 4, 2014 (calculated)
1436 (Islamic Calendar): September 23, 2015 (calculated)