Eid al-Adha: A Brief Summary
Muslims all over the world celebrate two religious festivals every year, and although it’s a given for the Muslim community, many people outside the faith don’t exactly understand what these festivals are exactly. So we decided to do a quick and easy run-down for those curious about Eid but not in the mood to read wordy articles on Wikipedia ;)
Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha comprise the two Islamic holidays - of the two, Eid al-Adha is given greater significance as it coincides with the holy pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj). To understand why, it's important to know the significance of Hajj: most non-Muslims are aware that it's a religious pilgrimage, but many don’t know that it actually commemorates the struggles of Abraham and his family.
Muslims “re-enact” many key moments from religious canon, one of which is when Abraham is ordered by God to sacrifice his son. Before he could complete the deed, God replaced the child with a goat, accepting Abraham’s will and obedience toward faith. And it is this astounding devotion to God in the act of ritual animal slaughter that Muslims adhere to. The day on which male pilgrims are to sacrifice a goat (which falls on the third day of the pilgrimage), Eid al-Adha is celebrated globally by Muslims at home.
A common misconception among non-Muslims is that religious slaughter is a means to “cleanse one’s sins”, which denotes an unfortunately sinister attribute to not just Eid sacrifices, but to halal meat as well. Animal sacrifice in the name of God is, by and large, an act of worship.
The act of ritual slaughter, especially on Eid al-Adha, is a holy deed as it is not an act that is solely carried out for the worship and praise of God, but for the benefit of mankind as well. When an animal is sacrificed, Muslims must divide the meat into three portions - one for the poor, one for their relatives, and one for themselves. Charity is an expected part of Eid celebrations, but it is on Eid al-Adha that Muslims are more active in philanthropic activities, such as donating meat as well as clothes and money to the poor and needy. And by distributing one portion of the meat to relatives, friends and neighbours, Eid al-Adha becomes a moment where bonds and relationships are built, rebuilt and strengthened.
An interesting aspect outside of religious duties in Eid al-Adha is the food. Eid al-Adha is often referred to as the “salty” Eid because of all the savoury meat dishes that are prepared nearing the end of the day. Barbecues are a common sight, with kebabs, steaks and spit-roasted meat reigning supreme in the menu. Other dishes such as haleem (prepared with wheat, lentils and minced meat), korma (a spicy curry) and biryani (a colourful, spicy rice dish topped with juicy, cooked meat) are also often served.
During or right after Eid al-Adha, many restaurants that serve Middle-East or South Asian cuisine might have an exclusive menu or deals that you can always check out. With the Haloodie app, you can search for your nearest ethnic halal eatery and feast on meaty cuisines!