Eid al-Adha Q&A: why do Muslims celebrate the Greater Eid?
Muslims begin festival that marks the end of Hajj and a man's willingness to sacrifice his son to God
MUSLIMS are today celebrating Eid al-Adha, one of the two most important festivals in the Muslim calendar.
The holiday, also known as the Feast of the Sacrifice or the Greater Eid, is distinct from Eid-al-Fitr, which was celebrated in August.
So, how many Eids are there?
Two. Eid-al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan and sees Muslims worldwide breaking their month-long fast. The date of Eid-al-Fitr – which is also known as the Lesser Eid – is determined by a confirmed sighting of the new moon. It was held this year in August. Eid al-Adha began last night and runs for four days.
Why do Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha?
The Greater Eid commemorates the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ishmael as an act of obedience to God. It also marks the end of Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia undertaken by about 1.5 million Muslims.
How is it celebrated?
Muslims across the world will sacrifice a sheep or a goat today as a "reminder of Ibrahim's obedience to Allah," says The BBC. Why a sheep? "Muslims believe that the very moment Ibrahim raised the knife, God told him to stop, that he had passed the test, and to replace Ishmael with a sacrificial ram," explains Al Arabiya. The meat is shared among family, friends and the poor, who each get a third. In Britain, the animal has to be killed at a slaughterhouse. In addition, Muslims often dress up in their best clothes and visit family and friends as well as offering presents. ·