Although we focus each year on Ramadan, there are other Islamic holidays and celebrations. Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha are the two major holidays that Muslims in the United States observe.
Eid Al-Fitr (Festival of the Breaking of the Fast) is celebrated at the end of Ramadan. The celebrations can vary since Muslims originate from many different countries, however some things such as offering congregational Eid prayers and enjoying a feast with family and friends is universal. In some Muslim nations the festivities can last up to three days.
Eid al-Adha (Festival of the Sacrifice) is celebrated from 4 to 12 days at the end of the Hajj. Hajj is an annual pilgrimage to Mecca. It is a mandatory requirement for adult Muslims to make the pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime if they are physically and financially able to make the journey.
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, as many as 2.5 million people would travel every year to Saudi Arabia for Hajj. Because of pandemic restrictions, only 10,000 people were allowed to perform the pilgrimage in 2020, and 60,000 in 2021. This year Saudi Arabia announced that it will allow one million pilgrims to perform Hajj as long as they are fully vaccinated against Covid 19 and are under the age of 65.
Since the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, the dates of Hajj change each year. This year Hajj will be from July 8 to 12, 2022. Eid al-Adha will be celebrated on July 10, 2020. Eid al-Adha is considered the holier of the two Eid celebrations. The festival commemorates the willingness of Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son, Ismail (Ishmael). In Islam, Ibrahim has a dream instructing him to sacrifice Ismail (not Issac) as a sign of obedience to Allah. As he is about to sacrifice Ismail, the Angel Jibreel (Gabriel) stops him, and gives him a ram to sacrifice instead. As part of the Eid al-Adha celebration, Muslims often sacrifice a lamb or goat to reenact the story.
As Ramadan comes to a close this year, we want to thank you for praying with us. Your prayers are making a difference in the lives of Muslims around the world. We would love to hear from you. Please feel free to give us your thoughts regarding this series, ask questions or make suggestions for future articles by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.