Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search


Global News Blog

The Eid holiday: What does it celebrate?

While the Eid festival following Ramadan is better known, Eid al-Adha is more significant to the Muslim calendar.

By Staff writer / October 26, 2012

Muslim pilgrims cast seven stones at a pillar that symbolizes Satan during the annual haj pilgrimage, as part of a haj pilgrimage rite, on the first day of Eid al-Adha in Mina, near the holy city of Mecca October 26.

Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters

Enlarge

The Syrian cease-fire pegged to the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha has put the annual observance in the spotlight, bringing it to non-Muslims attention for reasons that have nothing to do with the holiday. But the “Feast of the Sacrifice” is one of the most important holidays on the Muslim calendar, actually trumping the better known festival holiday Eid al-Fitr in importance.

Skip to next paragraph

Middle East Editor

Ariel Zirulnick is the Monitor's Middle East editor, overseeing regional coverage both for CSMonitor.com and the weekly magazine. She is also a contributor to the international desk's terrorism and security blog. 

Recent posts

Eid al-Adha is celebrated at the end of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, or hajj, which each Muslim is supposed to undertake once in his or her life. It is welcomed at daybreak on the first day with a communal prayer and lasts three days.

The holiday commemorates the day when Abraham was commanded by Allah to sacrifice his son, Ishmael. Abraham’s willingness to obey led Allah to permit him to sacrifice a ram in his son’s stead. (In the Judeo-Christian recounting, it is Abraham’s other son, Isaac, who is almost sacrificed.)

Eid al-Adha is celebrated with the sacrifice of an animal, part of which is kept for the family for a feast, part of which is distributed to friends and the poor. It also includes the distribution of gifts and sweets, visits with family, and, for those not in Mecca for the hajj, visits to local mosques and relatives’ graves.  
Today, much like Christmas, Eid al-Adha is also often marked in commercial ways. Gulf News reports that Dubai shopping malls are holding 24-hour “shopping extravaganzas” in honor of the festival holiday.

Incompatible with modernity?

In this video interview with StandAloneMedia (scroll to bottom of page), Reza Aslan, a professor of Islamic Studies at the University of California, Riverside, and author of "No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam," shares his views on the misperceptions that abound about Muslims, modernity, and democracy.

Sources: Encyclopedia Britannica, Gulf News, the Oxford Dictionary of Islam

Permissions

  • Weekly review of global news and ideas
  • Balanced, insightful and trustworthy
  • Subscribe in print or digital

Special Offer

 

Doing Good

 

What happens when ordinary people decide to pay it forward? Extraordinary change...

Danny Bent poses at the starting line of the Boston Marathon in Hopkinton, Mass.

After the Boston Marathon bombings, Danny Bent took on a cross-country challenge

The athlete-adventurer co-founded a relay run called One Run for Boston that started in Los Angeles and ended at the marathon finish line to raise funds for victims.

 
 
Become a fan! Follow us! Google+ YouTube See our feeds!