Earlier this year, Muslims celebrated Eid al-Fitr, which started on the evening of Monday, June 3, and finished the following evening. While now Muslims around the globe will be celebrating the second Eid – Eid al Adha. As both Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha are often shortened to ‘Eid’, it may be surprising that the term refers to two festivals. Read on to find out more about why there are two Eids.
Why are there two Eids?
Eid al-Fitr is traditionally the first Eid festival of the year, which is celebrated at the end of Ramadan – a month of fasting from dawn until sunset.
For this reason, Eid al-Fitr translates as ‘festival of the breaking of the fast’.
Eid al-Adha is celebrated later, around the time the Hajj pilgrimage, which is completed by many Muslims.
Hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam, is an annual pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, and Muslims are expected to make the trip at least once in their lifetime.
On both Eids, Muslims will go to special prayers at a mosque.
They will also celebrate with family and friends.
Why do Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha?
Eid al-Adha is widely considered to be the holier of the two festivals.
This Eid – which is also known as Bakra Eid or Eid ul Adha – is known as the ‘Festival of Sacrifice’, in honour of the Prophet Ibrahim.
According to Islamic scripture, Ibrahim proved his devotion to Allah by obeying his command to sacrifice his son, Ismail.
However, when the moment came to sacrifice his son, Ismail had been replaced by a lamb.
In honour of this, in some countries Muslims traditionally sacrifice an animal, such as a goat or a cow, and they split the meat into three parts.
One part is given to relatives, one is donated to the poor and another is kept to be consumed at home.