The eid al-adha (feast of sacrifice) marks the end or culmination of the Hajj or Pilgrimage of Muslims around the world to the Holy City of Mecca, in Saudi Arabia. It is celebrated every 10th day of the month of Dhul Hajja, the 12th Month of the Hijra Calendar, the Islamic Lunar calendar. The eid al-adha is one of the two (great) feasts or festivals of Islam, the other one being the eid al-fitr. It is celebrated by Muslims around the world and is a recognized holiday by non-Muslim states, like the Philippines.
Like the eid al-fitr, the eid al-adha is celebrated beginning with a morning Jamat or congregational prayer, held preferably in public places or outdoors. This Jamat prayer is different from the ordinary congregational prayer not only because it is done preferably outdoors but because it observes a different order. Unlike the regular Jamat, the eid al-adha prayers begins with two Rakahs of Salah or prayer—two sets of standing, bowing, prostrating and sitting while praying, and is followed by the Khutbah (command) or sermon. The regular Jamat has the opposite order, the Khutbah being first and followed by the Salah. The khutbah usually reminds the Muslims of the story of Abraham’s enduring faith to God or Allah (SWT) when he obeyed God’s command to sacrifice his beloved son—Abraham’s ultimate sacrifice. It is also an occasion for Muslims to be reminded of the hardships and difficulties of Abraham’s wife, Hagar, of rearing their child in the middle of the desert, or what is now the Holy City of Mecca. The two stories play a great a role in the performance of the Hajj; some of the rites in the Hajj are reenactment of the two stories of sacrifice.
Unlike the eid al-fitr, however, the celebration of eid al-adha requires from abled Muslims to do a Qurban or the sacrificial slaughter of an animal, usually a sheep or a goat, sometimes a cow. It is very important that the sacrifice must be made only after the morning Jamat, the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) made strict instructions to this effect. The (raw) meat of the sacrificed lamb shall be strictly divided into three (3) parts and will be distributed equally to the Muslim poor, the Muslim neighbor and one’s own family. The qurban could be done until the 12th of the Dhul Hajja.
The celebrations of eid al-adha by Muslims around the world are varied and different depending on their culture. Aside from the morning Jamat and the sacrifice, it is nevertheless celebrated with great merriments, wearing of beautiful clothes in going to the morning Jamat, family gatherings and feasts of delicious foods. It was narrated by one of the wives of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) that the Prophet (SAW) during this occasion tolerated in his house merriments through singing and playing of musical instruments—things consider undesirable in Islam.