When is Eid al-Adha 2020? UK date and how to celebrate the second Eid

EID al Adha, the Festival of Sacrifice, is one of the biggest events in the Muslim calendar.

It is the celebration of Ibrahim (Abraham) agreeing to sacrifice his son Ishmael under Allah/God's orders, which was then interrupted by God.

When is Eid al-Adha?

Eid ul-Adha is celebrated on the 10th day of Dhū al-Hijjah, the twelfth and final month of the Islamic calendar.

It lasts for four days. The first day of Eid ul-Adha marks the end of the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Makkah.

Due to Islam traditionally using the lunar calendar the date does shift and it's not officially on until there's a clear enough sky showing the crescent of a new moon.

This means that there is also a day-long variation between countries depending on where they are in the world.

In the UK Eid ul-Adha 2020 will begin on the evening of Thursday, July 30 and end on the evening of Monday, August 3.

How is it celebrated?

Eid usually starts with Muslims going to the Mosque for prayers in new finery.

As the name would suggest, over the weekend there is usually the sacrifice of a sheep, goat, camel or cow. The act is called Qurbani.

In the period around Eid al-Adha, many Muslims travel to Mecca and the surrounding area in Saudi Arabia to perform the Hajj pilgrimage, which is one of the five pillars of Islam.

It is a public holiday in traditionally or majority Muslim countries like Indonesia or the United Arab Emirates, but it isn't in more historically Christian countries like the UK.

In the UK the animal is slaughtered in a slaughterhouse, but in other countries it is often done as part of a public ritual.

It is a time that is spent visiting family and friends, usually involving a big meal and some partying. Kids often get presents too.

The meat is shared equally between family, friends and the poor and unlike Eid ul-Fitr, the meals made are predominantly savory.

It is a time when they visit family and friends. Muslims will also give money to charity so that poor people can celebrate too.

Why are there two Eids?

There are two Eids, which makes things a bit confusing for those not brought up in Islam.

Firstly, Eid means feast, so they're both family gatherings and a good excuse for a party.

Eid al-Fitr is celebrated at the end of Ramadan, this year in early June, to celebrate the end of fasting.

Eid al-Fitr is often referred to as the sweet feast as Muslims will tend to put a greater emphasis on puddings and all the nice little treats they weren't allowed during fasting.

Eid al-Adha is the one that's coming up at the end of July and is the holier of the two feasts.

It coincides with the end of the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, and is around two months after Eid al-Fitr.

It is deemed the savoury or salty feast as there is a surplus of meat from the sacrifice of the cattle that gets shared around everyone.

What is the story behind Eid al-Adha?

Eid al-Adha sees the sacrifices made as a symbolic act to mimic the near-sacrifice of Ibrahim (Abraham) who agreed to sacrifice his son Ishmael when Allah/God asked him to in repeated dreams.

Ibrahim leads Ishmael to Mount Arafat, tied up his son and stuck a blindfold on so he wouldn't have to watch him suffer.

The story goes that Allah replaced Ibrahim with a sheep as Ibrahim blindly flung the knife at his son. Other variations include an angel stepping in at the last moment and giving him a sheep or goat.

This is the same story from the Old Testament of Abraham and Isaac.

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