Eid al-Adha 2017: What is Greater Eid and how is it celebrated?
Millions of Muslims around the world will celebrate Eid Ul-Adha, one of the two most important festivals in the Muslim calendar on September 1-2. The festival, also known as the 'sacrifice feast' or Greater Eid, begins on the 10th day of the holiest month in the Islamic lunar calendar. In the Gregorian system, the date can vary over a period of 11 days.
Traditionally, the festival lasts for four days but public holidays vary from country to country.
What is Eid Ul-Adha?
Eid Ul-Adha is a major Muslim holiday which falls on the 10th day of Dhul Hijjah - September 1 this year.
Referred to as "big Eid", it is often overlooked compared to "little Eid" or Eid ul-Fitr - which marks the end of Ramadan.
Unlike "little Eid", today's holiday doesn't come after a period of fasting. Rather, it follows the first 10 days of the holiest months in the Islamic calendar.
Muslims greeting each other with Eid mubarak.
Why do people say ‘Eid mubarak’?
Eid mubarak is an Arabic greeting meaning "blessed Eid" or "blessed celebration".
Muslims wish each other "Eid mubarak" after performing the Eid Ul-Adha prayer and may also hug each other three times.
Eid-ul-Adha, also known as Bakri Eid lasts for three days, honours the willingness of the Prophet Abraham to sacrifice his elder son Ismail as an act of submission to God. Eid-ul-Adha falls on a different date each year, as the Islamic calendar is based on lunar cycles.
To commemorate this story, Muslims sacrifice cows, goats, lambs, sheep and camels in the name of God.
How many days is it?
Eid al-Adha is marked by a four or five day public holiday in most Muslim countries - although in Turkey and Qatar celebrations last for 10 days and in Saudi Arabia a whole fortnight.
A three day holiday is being held in Ghana, Nigeria and Uganda.
Photo credit: PTI
How is Greater Eid celebrated?
Muslims wear their best clothes - ideally a new outfit and attend morning prayers at local mosques - often taking a different route back to their home, as this is following the example of the Prophet Muhammad.
This is followed by family meals and the exchanging of gifts.
In remembrance of the Ibrahim story, a goat or sheep is often slaughtered. One third of the meat is consumed by the family, another for friends and relatives and the last part for those in need.
The period is seen as an important time for charity work.
Difference between Eid al-Adha and Eid-al-Fitr
Eid al-Adha, which is also known as the 'Greater Eid', falls on the 10th day of the final, and most sacred, month of the Islamic calendar - Dhu'l-Hijjah.
The 'lesser Eid', Eid-al-Fitr, marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, during which Muslims fast between sunrise and sunset.