The Festival of Sacrifice, Eid-al-Adha, immediately follows the Day of Arafat. Although only the pilgrims in Mecca can participate in the Hajj fully, all the other Muslims in the world join with them by celebrating Eid Al-Adha, or “Celebration of Sacrifice.”
On the 10th day of Zul-Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic calendar, Muslims around the world celebrate this feast of commitment, obedience and self sacrifice to Allah. This festival is celebrated throughout the Muslim world as a commemoration of Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice everything for God, including the life of his son Ishmael.
Because God spared Ishmael, substituting a sheep in his stead, Muslims commemorate this occasion by slaughtering an animal and distributing its meat among family, friends and the needy as a special act of charity for the occasion. Because of this, many poor Muslims are able to enjoy the unusual luxury of eating meat during the four days of the festival.
They wear their nicest clothing and attend Salatul-Eid (Eid Prayer) in the morning. This is followed by a short sermon, after which everyone socializes. Next, people visit each other’s homes and partake in festive meals with special dishes, beverages, and desserts. Children receive gifts and sweets on this happy occasion. In addition, like the pilgrims in Mecca, the Muslims, who can afford to do so, offer domestic animals, usually sheep, as a symbol of Ibrahim’s sacrifice. The meat is distributed for consumption to family, friends, and to the poor and needy.