Eid al Adha or Eid ul Zuha or Bakrid is one of the most important festivals in the Muslim lunar calendar, known as the Hijri calendar. This holy day is celebrated by the Muslim community throughout the world on the 10th day of the month of Dhul Hijjah and its vibrant festivities last for around four days. If one trys to look at the festival dates in correspondence with Gregorian calendar an interesting pattern emerges, each year as per the Western calendar the date of Bakrid, advances by around 11 days. On this occasion, great significance is given to performing the sacrifice of a goat or “bakr” (as per in the Urdu language) in every Muslim household. The root of the word “Id” is traceable to the Arabic word “iwd” means 'festival' and “zuha” is derived from “uzhaiyya”, which stands for 'sacrifice', this is how the term Eid ul Zuha was coined.
Eid al Adha commemorates Prophet Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son on God's command. According to Islamic traditional belief, to test Abraham's faith and devotion, Allah commanded him to sacrifice his only son, Ismail. He agreed to do it but found his paternal feelings hard to suppress. So, he blindfolded himself before putting Ismail on the altar at the mount of Mina near Mecca and slit his son's throat. However, when he removed his blind-fold after performing the act, he saw that his son was absolutely hail and hearty, standing in front of him, alive. On the altar lay a slaughtered ram, Allah had performed a miracle as Abraham had passed his test. It is in honor of this test of faith, that followers of Islam, around the world sacrifice an animal on this occasion to show their faith, allegiance and sincerity to Allah.
Customs and Traditions
In India, the animal used mostly for sacrifice is a goat, which is why the occasion is spoken of in Urdu as Bakhr or Bakri-Id. The festival also coincides with the anniversary of the day when The Holy Quran was declared complete. It is also the time when many Muslims undertake Hajj to Mecca, since this Islamic tradition revolves around the trials of faith faced by Abraham and his family. Thus, millions perform Hajj in Saudi Arabia, on this auspicious day and trace the journey taken by Abraham centuries ago. Being a lunar date, Eid depends on the sighting of the moon. According to the Islamic customs, the pilgrims at Hajj collect seventy pebbles that are used to drive away the Shaitan or Satan, who tried to dissuade Prophet Abraham thrice from making the supreme sacrifice. This gesture marks the symbolic condemnation of evil power that tries to dissuade man from reaching God.
On the day of Eid, the pilgrims reach the grounds of Mina, where they sacrifice an animal each. The pilgrims then shave their heads. The purpose is to be one with the millions of devotees who converge to Mecca each year for Hajj. In India, the day begins with a ghusl or bath, after which namaaz is offered. It is mandatory to sacrifice either individually or collectively if one cannot afford the full price of the animal. To a Muslim it is the word of Allah that has to be followed. The sacrificial meat is then distributed amongst family, friends and the needy. Prayer meetings and Eid Milans are part of the festivities. People visit their friends and relatives wearing new clothes and jewelry. Children are given idi or gifts and money, as a token of love by the elders of the family. In the Indian subcontinent exchanging sweets and organizing of grand feasts is a common practice on this occasion. Vermicelli or seviyan, a traditional sweet, is prepared specially for this festival. Thus, Bakrid is celebrated with great gusto across India. This year the occasion will be celebrated on Fri, September 01, 2017, minus or plus a day depending on the sighting of the moon.
The pious day of Bakrid is celebrated with great reverence not just in India but by Muslims all over the globe.