In the middle of next week (October 15/16), muslims all around the world will be celebrating Eid-ul-Adha (pronounced EED-UL-UDD-HA).
What is Eid?
Eid is a celebration that muslims take part in every year. There are two different times of the year when Eid is celebrated. One is called Eid-ul-Fitr and the other is called Eid-ul-Adha. This post will be on Eid-ul-Adha. To find my post on Eid-ul-Fitr, please click here.
What is Eid-ul-Adha?
The translation from the Arabic title, Eid-ul-Adha, is Festivity of Sacrifice, where Eid means "festivities" and Adha is "sacrifice". This Eid takes place in the last month of the Islamic calendar (a lunar calendar). It is in the remembrance of Prophet Ibrahim (also known as Prophet Abraham) and his son Prophet Ismail (also known as Prophet Ismael).
The Story Behind Eid-ul-Adha
Prophet Ibrahim loved his only son, Prophet Ismail more than anything in the world. One night, as Prophet Ibrahim was sleeping, he had a dream in which Allah (God) asked him to make a sacrifice in the name of God. He would have to sacrifice his most loved thing for Allah. He had the same dream many other nights in which Allah had asked him to sacrifice Prophet Ibrahim's son. Prophet Ibrahim was very concerned about this task but because he trusted God so much, he agreed to do so. He talked to his son about his recurring dreams and Prophet Ismail agreed to the sacrifice as it was going to be in the name of Allah. When Prophet Ibrahim was going to cut Prophet Ismail's throat, his son had been replaced by a lamb instead by God. This was the sign that the Prophets had passed their test and faith in God.
This is the reason Eid-ul-Adha is celebrated by muslims: to remember the faith of the Prophets and the sacrifice they were willing to make for Allah.
How is Eid-ul-Adha celebrated?
Eid-ul-Adha is celebrated by sacrificing an animal in the name of God. It may be a sheep, goat, cow, and/or, camel. There is a very specific method to how an animal is sacrificed in Islam. It is done by saying the name of God and then slicing the throat so the blood is drained out so the animal is sacrificed in the least most painful way. The name of God is said to acknowledge that the animal is only being sacrificed with respect and not merely to take a life of a living thing (it is sort of like how the tribe in the movie, Avatar, killed their animals for food).
Through this sacrifice, the meat is considered Halal (permissible) for muslims to eat. The sacrificed meat is divided into three parts. 1/3 is given to the poor and needy, 1/3 is given to your neighbours, and the last is for yourself and your family. It is encouraged for muslims to wear new, clean clothes if they are able to afford it. They visit family and friends on the occasion and also attend the Eid prayers on the morning of Eid-ul-Adha. When the prayers are completed, muslims hug each other in celebration and say Eid Mubarak (meaning Happy Eid and/or Eid Greetings). Many people celebrate Eid in their own different and unique cultural ways, but the sacrifice and the prayer on Eid are key rituals of Eid-ul-Adha. Families have big feasts, girls may get Henna painted on their hands, and/or, families may go out to celebrate with gatherings or to a local Eid Fair.
Books about Eid-ul-Adha
Eid al-Adha by Robert Walker
The Best Eid Ever by Asma Mobin-Uddin
The Perfect Gift by J. Samia Mair
Hamza Learns About Eid-ul-Adha (author's name not provided but can be found online at MarhabaStores.com)
4-3-2-1 Eid-ul-Adha is So Much Fun by Amira Gadd & Mariam Saada
Eid Activities for Children
This website has fun activities for both Eid-ul-Adha and Eid-ul-Fitr on the same page. Enjoy!