Eid Al-Adha, also known as the Feast of Sacrifice, is one of the two major holidays in Islam. It is an Islamic festival honoring prophet Ibrahim who was told by Allah to sacrifice his son, Ismail, as an act of obedience. As Ibrahim was about to commit his ultimate act of faith, God replaced his son with a lamb which was sacrificed instead. This year, Eid is set to be celebrated from August 11 to 13, and here are the traditions of Eid that you should expect to witness.
During Eid, Muslims attend the Eid prayer services at the mosques, some of which also hold lectures on aspects of Islam and Islamic history. If you pass through a mosque on an early Eid morning, you will see lots of people, old and young, entering the mosque to perform the prayer.
One of the most important traditions for Eid Al-Adha is sacrificing an animal, like a cow or goat, and donating the meat to the people who cannot afford it. The animal will be divided into three parts, with one part given to the poor, one shared out amongst relatives, and the final third cooked and eaten by the family.
Eid is all about donating and helping others. As mentioned, part of the sacrifice will be given to the poor and they can donate money to charities that will provide meat to those who are in need. During Eid, people are encouraged to participate in activities that help the poor and improve the lives of the community members.
One of the best parts of the Eid is that it brings together families and friends that were not fully-connected during the year. Gathering in your grandparents’ house, listening to their stories, or catching up with your expat cousin is one of the Eid’s benefits.
If you visit the graveyard in the morning, you will see it crowded with people crying on the graves of their beloved and praying for them. Praying for those deceased on an Eid morning has a special touch that cannot be put in words. This spirit means that, even if you are gone, you are certainly not forgotten.
Traditions may vary from a family to another, but one thing they all have in common is that a delicious feast will be enjoyed. Mostly, the feast will be the red meat of the sacrificed animal, and usually, there is rice on each family’s table.
These shortbread-esque cookies are filled with nuts, dates, or figs and provide a deliciously sweet note on which to end the feast. They’re usually shaped into balls, domes, or flat cookies, and plates full of the biscuits are often exchanged between neighbors and relatives as gifts. Some families buy Maamoul, others stick to home-made, but in one way or another, Maamoul finds its way into every Eid revelry.
Eid clothes are something else. The happiness of getting new clothes just for the sake of Eid has a different feeling. It is a common practice for Muslims to buy new clothes on Eid and it is not only one outfit, but two and three.
Eideya is one of the most loved traditions at least by the children. The term Eideya is derived from the Arabic word Eid, which means giving and kindness. The feeling of returning home after a long joyful day to count the richness is so special.
There are no strings attached to the Eideya. Children could save it all or spend it on ice cream and movies, sweets and fireworks. And the latter is what they actually do. If you visit some Islamic villages and cities during the Eid, you will see a bunch of tables full of toys and games on the streets waiting for the children to pick them up.
Eid is not only about performing some ritual activities but also for fun and happiness. Various events are organized across the country such as food events, music shows, parades, and festivals. Having some fun never hurts, so what if it is on Eid?