Eid al-Adha which is also popularly known as Bakr Eid or Eid-ul-Zuha is celebrated in the month of Zil Hajj with much fanfare by the Muslim community all across the globe as it comes nearly two months after the festival of Eid-ul-Fitr, the one which arrives after the holy month of Ramazan. Considered the second most important festival of Muslims, the day marks a sacrifice of cattle – goat, sheep, camel, buffalo in whatever number a person can afford.
Moonsighting and Date
The moon for this year’s Bakr Eid was sighted on Thursday. Unlike the Gregorian calendar followed by the West, the Islamic calendar is lunar that is, based on the moon. Since lunar months are shorter than solar months, Muslims month of Zil Hajj, which is the twelfth and the last month of the Islamic year, occurs approximately 11 days earlier every year depending on when the moon is sighted and the same is for Bakr Eid which varies from country to country by about a day. This year, Hajj will begin from August 9 and Eid-al-Adha will be celebrated in Saudi Arabia on August 11.
Eid al-Adha is a prime festival for the Muslim community and is celebrated for three days globally. It honours the willingness of Prophet Abraham who, when asked by God to sacrifice a thing dearest to him, readily agreed to sacrifice his son, Ismail, according to Islamic, Christian and Jewish texts. Pleased with the readiness of Abraham and courage and faith of Ismail, God replaced the boy with a ram which was then sacrificed by a blindfolded Prophet Abraham. In honour to the divine incident, Eid al-Adha is celebrated for three days. The festival of Bakr Eid marks the sacrifice of Abraham. God had provided a male goat to Abraham to sacrifice, as a substitute for his son. As per God’s instructions, the male goat was then divided into 3 spares. The poor were offered one-third of the share and another portion was given to friends and families. The residual one-third portion was retained by the family of Abraham.
Muslims across the world celebrate the day by sacrificing a goat/ram/buffalo/camel and dividing the flesh among relatives and friends. They keep one-third of it and distribute the rest to the poor and the needy. Sacrificing of the animal is done between dawn to dusk and that is the only timing to be followed for Bakr Id. It creates an equal amount of euphoria among Muslims as the one created during previous Eid. For self-sufficient Muslims, it is imperative to sacrifice cattle or a bovine animal. While the major portion of meat is meant for distribution among the poor, a significant amount of it could be retained for holding feats with friends and relatives. Following the congregational prayers in the morning, the festive environment would takeover Muslim localities, with kababs and tikkas forming the order of the day.
The community exchanges gifts and greetings. Eid al-Adha is considered a gazetted holiday. The festival is celebrated by wearing new dresses and offering special prayers.
The festival is celebrated across the world with different names. In Urdu and Hindi languages, Eid al-Adha is called Bakr-Eid. In Uzbekistan, Eid al-Adha is celebrated as Qurbon Hayiti. In Bangladesh, it is called Idul Azha. In Bengali, it is called Kurbanir Id. In Egypt, Eid al-Adha is celebrated as Id ul Baqarah.