The Feast of Sacrifice, one of the two most important holidays in Islam. The Eid is especially significant because it marks the end of the annual Hajj or Pilgrimage to Mecca, celebrated in the final month of the (lunar) Islamic calendar. The annual Hajj is the fifth “pillar of Islam” and is an obligation for all Muslims at least once in their lifetime if they are able. Eid al-Adha is the climax of the Hajj at sundown on the 12th day of the 12th month.


The holy day commemorates the willingness of Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his firstborn son Ishmael in faithful obedience to God’s command. In the version of the story found in Sura 37 of the Qur’an, God then mercifully provides a ram as an alternative and Ibrahim sacrifices the ram instead of his son. Because of this, it is customary on this holiday to sacrifice a goat, sheep or cow and to give a portion of the meat for sustenance of the poor.

Most Muslims, even if not on pilgrimage, celebrate this holiday over three days and two nights, offering special prayers at mosques. Eid al-Adha is a joyous and celebratory holiday that includes wearing new clothes, exchanging gifts, taking time off from school or work, and gathering with family for feasts of thanksgiving.