8 Things To Know About Eid al-Adha

Oct 26, 2012 9:31 am

The weekend Muslim food-centric holiday, explained

Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/macloo/6337054142/">Macloo</a> on Flickr
Photo: Macloo on Flickr
A ram feasts on his last meal before being sacrificed for Eid al-Adha
 
Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/cristic/3107580478/">ccarlstead</a> on Flickr
Photo: ccarlstead on Flickr
Scenes from an Eid al-Adha
 

Eid al-Adha, also known as the Feast of Sacrifice, is a four-day holiday where Muslims come together to celebrate their faith by eating a lot of red meat. The holiday kicks off today and runs through Monday, October 29.

  1. Eid al-Adha is celebrated to honor and commemorate the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son Ishmael as per God's order. God provided Abraham with a sheep to sacrifice at the last second instead. 
  2. Eid al-Adha takes place at the end of Hajj (the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia), one of the five pillars of Islam. Every year, approximately 3 million Muslims travel to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj.
  3. Eid al-Adha is the latter of two Eid celebrations, the first being Eid al-Fitr, which comes after Ramadan.
  4. Salat ul-Eid are significant prayers which take place during the first day of Eid to kick things off.
  5. During Eid al-Adha, men, women and children dress in their finest attire, and those who can afford to sacrifice an entire halal animal — often a sheep or a cow, and in some regions a camel — and donate the meat to neighbors and those who are less fortunate. 
  6. The meat is divided into three parts: the family keeps one third; another third is given to relatives, friends and neighbors; and the last part is given to those in need. The idea is that no impoverished person is left without meat on the table during Eid al-Adha. 
  7. The sacrificed animal is referred to as Udiyyah (meaning "the sacrificed" in Arabic), and has to meet a certain set of rules, which include being of a certain age and of the highest quality available. 
  8. Often times, fried liver is served for breakfast, while the rest of the animal constitutes meals for lunch and dinner. Cooking techniques and recipes vary from one country to another. In the Arab world, one of the basic ways to cook mutton is to braise it with plenty of garlic, cumin and onion over a slow fire. In Southeast Asia, biryanis are especially popular, while in Turkey, kebab (kebap in Turkish) is prevalent.

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