A Complete Guide to Eid al-Adha 2024

Moon sighting

Saudi Arabia is back in its festive mood. The entire Muslim community from around the world has their eyes on the KSA. Eid al-Adha, also called Bakrid, Bakra Eid, Eid Qurban, Qurban Bayarami, or the Feast of Sacrifice, is expected to be observed on 16th June 2024. After Ramadan, it is the time of the year when blessings pour in; the atmosphere is filled with prayers, and families come together and share good memories. 

A. Saudi Arabia has announced Eid Al Adha dates 

The crescent sighting in Saudi Arabia was observed on June 6, on the evening of the 29th of the Hijri calendar month Dhul Qa’adah,which marked the beginning of Dhul Hijjah. This date is applicable for Muslims in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Jordan, Syria, Iraq and other Arab states along with UK, US and Canada. While other countries, such as India, Pakistan, Japan, Malaysia, Hong Kong and other South Asian countries will see the crescent on June 7th, which shifts Dhul Hijja by a day. 

It means, when the GCC countries will celebrate Eid Al Adha from June 16th for three days, Asian countries will observe the festival from June 17 or 18. 

B. Saudi Arabia welcomes people for Hajj

Hajj Pilgrimage

In Dhul Hijja, Muslims also go on Hajj, a sacred pilgrimage. It is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. So, it becomes an obligation for every Muslim who is physically and financially capable to undertake it at least once in their lifetime. This year, it is to begin on June 14. Saudi Arabia has installed state-of-the-art facilities and amenities for people to pray and worship without any difficulties. Temporary tents in Mina and Arafat are equipped with air conditioning and other amenities to accommodate millions of pilgrims. Extensive transport systems and services, numerous hospitals and clinics, and numerous safety measures are taken. Regular cleaning and sanitation of holy sites are conducted to maintain a hygienic environment. 

The Saudi government issues special Hajj visas and has streamlined the process to facilitate entry for millions of international pilgrims. It is different from a Saudi tourist visa which allows you to tour the country and perform Umrah. In case, you are a first-timer to Gulf countries, learning 50 common Arabic phrases will come in handy. 

C. Hajj rituals

Mecca

  1. Ihram: Pilgrims enter a state of spiritual purity by donning special garments (two white seamless cloths for men and simple white dresses for women) and avoiding certain activities.
  2. Tawaf: Pilgrims perform seven counter-clockwise circuits around the Kaaba, the cube-shaped building in the center of the Grand Mosque in Mecca.
  3. Sa’i: Pilgrims walk seven times between the hills of Safa and Marwah, reenacting Hagar’s search for water for her son Ishmael.
  4. Arafat: Pilgrims spend a day in prayer and reflection on the plain of Arafat.
  5. Muzdalifah: Pilgrims gather pebbles for the ritual of stoning the devil and spend the night under the open sky.
  6. Ramy al-Jamarat: Pilgrims throw pebbles at three pillars, symbolizing the rejection of evil.
  7. Eid al-Adha: Pilgrims participate in the Festival of Sacrifice, which includes the slaughter of an animal to commemorate the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son in obedience to God.
  8. Tawaf al-Ifadah: Pilgrims perform another Tawaf around the Kaaba.
  9. Farewell Tawaf: Before leaving Mecca, pilgrims perform a final Tawaf.

D. What happens in the three days of Eid Al Adha? 

Eid Al Adha Qurbani

Day 1: The Day of Sacrifice (10th Dhu al-Hijjah)

  1. Eid Prayers: Muslims gather in mosques or open prayer grounds early in the morning for a special Eid prayer, known as Salat al-Eid. The prayer consists of two units (rakats) followed by a sermon (khutbah). Worshippers are encouraged to wear their finest clothes and perform the ritual of Ghusl (purification) before attending the prayer.
  1. Sacrificial Animal (Qurbani): After the prayer, Muslims who can afford it perform the Qurbani, the ritual sacrifice of an animal (usually a goat, sheep, cow, or camel). The meat is divided into three parts: one-third for the family, one-third for relatives and friends, and one-third for the poor and needy. This act commemorates Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son, and God’s provision of a ram to be sacrificed in his place.
  1. Feast and Gatherings: Families and friends come together to share festive meals, which often include the meat from the sacrificial animal. Traditional dishes and sweets are prepared, and there is an emphasis on hospitality and charity.

Day 2 and Day 3: More Festivities (11th and 12th Dhu al-Hijjah)

  1. Ramy al-Jamarat (Stoning of the Devil): Pilgrims performing Hajj continue the ritual of stoning the three pillars (representing Satan) in Mina. This ritual is performed on all three days. Pilgrims throw seven pebbles at each of the three pillars each day, symbolizing their rejection of evil.
  1. Completion of Sacrifices: The ritual sacrifice (Qurbani) can be performed over these three days. Those who could not perform it on the first day may do so on the second or third day. Distribution of meat continues, ensuring that the poor and needy receive their share.
  1. Social Activities: Communities often organize events, fairs, and activities for children to celebrate the joyous occasion.
  1. Acts of Worship and Charity: Muslims engage in additional acts of worship, including reciting Takbir (praises of God) and reading the Quran. Emphasis is placed on giving to charity (Sadaqah) and helping those in need.

E. Important Dhul Hijja dates

As per the moon sighting, the Islamic lunar calendar is made. The Islamic month of Dhul Hijja, the 12th and final month of the Islamic lunar calendar, holds prominent events and important dates, especially for the observance of Hajj and Eid al-Adha. It is one of the holiest months in the year when the first ten days are considered to be the most sacred. 

Here are the major dates for Dhul Hijja 2024:

  1. 1st Dhul Hijja: The beginning of the month falls on 7th June 2024. 
  2. 8th Dhul Hijja (Yawm at-Tarwiyah): The first day of Hajj, when pilgrims head to Mina. Expected to be on June 14, 2024.
  3. 9th Dhul Hijja (Day of Arafah): The most important day of Hajj, pilgrims stand in prayer on the plain of Arafat. It is also a day of fasting for non-pilgrims. Expected to be on June 15, 2024.
  4. 10th Dhul Hijja (Eid al-Adha): Also known as the Festival of Sacrifice, this is one of the most significant Islamic holidays, marking the end of Hajj and commemorating the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son in obedience to God. Expected to be on June 16, 2024.
  5. 11th-13th Dhul Hijja (Tashreeq Days): The three days following Eid al-Adha, during which the ritual of animal sacrifice continues, and pilgrims perform the symbolic stoning of the devil. Expected to be on June 17-19, 2024.

FAQs

When is Eid al-Adha celebrated in Saudi Arabia?

Eid al-Adha falls on the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic calendar. In 2024, Eid al-Adha in Saudi Arabia will be from June 16th to June 19th.

What is Eid al-Adha a celebration of?

Eid al-Adha, also known as the "Festival of Sacrifice," is a major holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide. It commemorates the Prophet Ibrahim's desire and readiness to sacrifice his son Ishmael as an act of obedience to God's command.

How to wish Eid al-Adha mubarak?

Say "Eid Mubarak" This is the most common and universally understood greeting. You can also say Have a blessed Eid al-Adha.

What are some of the traditions of Eid al-Adha in Saudi Arabia?

Muslims attend special Eid prayers held at mosques on the morning of Eid. Families may sacrifice a sheep, goat, cow, or camel, following specific guidelines. The meat is then shared with family, friends, and those in need.

Are there any things visitors to Saudi Arabia should be aware of during Eid al-Adha?

  • Many businesses and government offices may be closed during Eid.
  • Restaurants may be busier than usual.
  • It's a respectful gesture to greet people with "Eid Mubarak."

Conclusion

Eid al-Adha is a wonderful time to visit Saudi Arabia and immerse in its authentic culture. Do, get your visa and book accommodation for easy travel.

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