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Muslims in Millions Celebrate Eid al-Adha Religious Holiday

Eid al-Adha, which in Arabic literally means 'festival of the sacrifice', marks the end of the annual Hajj pilgrimage

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MAKKAH– Millions of Muslims around the world are celebrating the Eid al-Adha religious holiday on Sunday.

Eid al-Adha, which in Arabic literally means the “festival of the sacrifice”, commemorates the story of the Muslim Prophet Ibrahim’s test of faith.

Muslims believe Ibrahim was commanded by God to sacrifice his son, Ismail. The belief holds that Allah Almighty stayed his hand, sparing the boy, and placing a ram in his place.

In the village of Mina, near the Muslim holy city of Mecca, it marks the day on which millions of pilgrims perform the symbolic stoning of the devil. 

They will then circle the cube-shaped Kaaba in Mecca, Islam’s most sacred site, before departing.

The Kaaba represents the metaphorical house of God and the oneness of God in Islam. Observant Muslims around the world face towards the Kaaba during the five daily prayers.

Although the majority of Muslims will celebrate the four-day holiday starting Sunday, for many, including those living in the Philippines, India and Pakistan, Eid al-Adha will not begin until Monday.

The day is marked with the sacrifice of an animal, usually a goat, sheep, or cow, and the distribution of the meat among neighbours, family members, and the poor.

The holiday also marks the end of Hajj, the five-day-long pilgrimage Muslims undertake to cleanse the soul of sins and instil a sense of equality and brotherhood among Muslims.

Hajj infographic