Eid Al Adha
Oh yes, there’s another Eid coming up and British Muslims across the country will be having yet another array of feasts, parties and fun.
What is Eid Al Adha?
Eid Al Adha is the celebration of Abraham’s sacrifice. Muslims use this day to remember all that they’re thankful for and they show gratitude by giving to the poor or homeless. It’s tradition to buy a large amount of meat from an animal, (usually a cow, sheep or camel) cook it for several hours until the meat is tender, then serve it with salad and a selection of rice and pulses. This special meal is referred to as a Qurbani. The Qurbani is then packaged up and distributed in mosques, or given to those who are less fortunate and are on the streets. If you live next to or near Muslims, you’ll probably get a knock on the door too. You see, this day isn’t just for feeding the vulnerable and the poor, it is also a chance to welcome and encourage neighbourly ties with those in our immediate community, regardless of race, sex, gender and creed.
When is Eid Al Adha?
It varies year to year as Islamic holiday dates are determined by a lunar calendar. This year, it is set to start on Sunday 11 August and end on Thursday 15 August.
The festival traditionally lasts four days, with the first day marking the end of the yearly Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, Islam’s holiest city.
Why is Eid Al Adha so important?
Well it’s celebrated by 1.6 billion people around the world, so for many it is a time for giving back to the community we serve. The idea of community and togetherness is important to many Muslims and this holiday is considered a tad more important than the first Eid- Eid Al Fitr. Whilst many won’t be able to relate to the first Eid, this Eid is considered a chance to engage with those society has forgotten about or neglected. It is a chance to help those who society has failed.
How is Eid Al Adha celebrated?
A typical day would begin at dawn with a special Eid prayer. Shortly after, the food starts being prepared (or ordered from the local butchers/restaurants) and everyone gets dressed in either their best clothes or new clothes which would have been bought in advance. After the morning prayers, people usually have a light breakfast and decorate their homes. Around 1pm, people head to the mosque and perform their daily prayer and the festivities begin. Some people go to park events which have rides and others visit their extended family. The Qurbani is usually handed out by volunteers at a centre or at the mosque.
What can we learn from Eid Al Adha?
For me, this holiday reminds me to be mindful of others and do what I can to alleviate their suffering. If I see someone begging for money in Holborn, I’ll buy them a sandwich or in this hot weather, a bottle of water. If I have some old clothes I want to toss out, I’ll take them down to the local charity shop. If I go to the park with my family, I’ll feed the birds (unless there’s a sign prohibiting me from doing so). The idea is that our world won’t change unless we take the necessary steps which starts with a collective but also an individual responsibility to make sure those around us are okay. I think in this fast paced society we lose sight of what’s important and this holiday just humbles and reminds me to think of the bigger picture.
Eid Mubarak or Happy Eid everyone!