Eid al-Adha, the Feast of the Sacrifice
The Islamic holiday Eid al-Adha (pronounced eed al-Ad-ha), known as the "Feast of the Sacrifice," marks the end of Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca. The ritual of Hajj is a commemoration of the story of Abraham, Hagar, and Ishmael. The Feast of the Sacrifice commemorates Abraham's willingness to obey God's command to sacrifice his son. Before he could complete the sacrifice, the angel Gabriel intervened by God's will and enacted God's mercy on Abraham by replacing his son with a ram.
Eid al-Adha is the second of two Islamic holidays (after Eid al-Fitr). Like Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha is a time for worship, fellowship with friends and family, and helping the less fortunate. Families dress in their best attire and begin the day with special congregational prayers after which a sermon is given. They exchange the greeting “Eid Mubarak,” meaning “May your holiday be blessed.” Families visit relatives and friends. Children are often given gifts, money and sweets. The celebration includes charity. Those who can afford it distribute meat divided among needy families, loved ones and oneself. In the United States, they may pay a halal butcher to perform the sacrifice or donate through a charity.
The precise date of Eid al-Adha is determined by the Islamic lunar calendar and the appearance of the new moon; this year, it will fall on Sept. 1, 2017.
Message on the Observance of Eid al-Adha
March 6, 2001
"Warm greetings to Muslims across the United States as you celebrate the Eid al-Adha holiday and join in spirit with the millions gathered in Mecca to uphold the traditions of one of your most sacred feasts.
"America was built on a strong spiritual foundation, and the celebration of faith is central to our lives. As you celebrate the annual Hajj, the fifth pillar of Islam, you honor the great sacrifice and devotion of Abraham as recognized by Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. By educating others about your religious traditions, you enrich the lives of others in your local communities.
"The variety of nations and cultures represented by those who travel to Mecca each year, and the varied ways in which Muslims contribute to American life across the United States, are powerful reminders that ethnic and racial differences need not divide us when we share common values and purposes. By building strong foundations of mutual respect, we can achieve peace and reconciliation in our world.
"Laura joins me in sending best wishes for a joyous holiday celebration."
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH