By Laman Ismayilova
Every year world’s Muslims celebrate one of the most sacred holidays of the Islamic world, Eid al-Adha, also called Feast of the Sacrifice.
The holiday marks the end of the pilgrimage to Mecca known as Hajj. It symbolizes the highest human qualities and commemorates Prophet Ibrahim’s faith and devotion to God.
Feast of the Sacrifice is celebrated 70 days after the end of the month of Ramadan and usually lasts for four days.
The ritual of sacrifice is rooted in the incident that occurred with the Prophet Ibrahim, who was ordered by God to sacrifice his son Ismayil as a test of faith.
After he acceded to the divine order, the Prophet Abraham discovered that God had spared his beloved son and replaced his sacrifice with a ram, rewarding him for his faith and devotion.
Today Muslims across the world sacrifice an animal to commemorate Ibrahim’s devotion and God’s mercy.
The meat of the sacrificed animal (sheep, goat, camel or cow) is divided into three parts: one part is given to the poor, another one is shared out among the relatives and the final third part is eaten by the family.
A sheep or a goat can be sacrificed from only one person, and a cow, a bull or a camel – from seven people.
The ritual ceremony can be performed both on the first and on the following days of the holiday.
Every Muslim on this holiday should eat a meat dish. Pilaf or soyutma are traditionally prepared by Azerbaijani people for Eid al-Adha. Children are treated to various sweets.
Muslims prepare for Eid prayer by bathing and dressing in new clothes. They attend mosque for the early prayers and exchange gifts.
After the holiday prayer in the mosque, the imam reads sermons praising God and his Prophet Muhammad, then the essence of the holiday is explained.
Muslims are encouraged to forgive and seek forgiveness during the holiday. People also visit graveyards to offer their respects to family members. Eid al-Adha is also a time when Muslims visit their relatives and friends.
The most popular greeting is "Eid Mubarak" (Blessed Eid) or "Eid sa'id" (Happy Eid).
The holiday begins with the first sighting of the new moon. The date of Eid varies from country to country depending on geographical location.
Since gaining independence and by the law "On holidays of the Republic of Azerbaijan", approved in 1992, Eid al-Adha has been celebrated in Azerbaijan every year as a public holiday.
In 2019, Azerbaijan is celebrating the holiday on August 12-13.
Laman Ismayilova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Lam_Ismayilova
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