The name of the holiday means «Festival of Sacrifice» — referring to the story of how Allah commanded the prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his own son. The Prophet went to the valley of Mina to the place where Mecca now stands and began preparations for the sacrifice. But at the very last moment, Allah stopped Ibrahim — it was a probation that the prophet endured with honor. Instead of a son, a lamb was sacrificed. Since then, Muslims from all over the world have had a tradition of sacrificing this animal every year, demonstrating their readiness to serve Allah.
Instead of a lamb, a camel or a cow can be sacrificed. According to the tradition, the animal must be divided into three parts – the first for himself, the second for relatives, and the third is given to poor people. The skins of sacrificial animals are usually given to the mosque. It is very important that the animal was flawless.
Just as in the case of other holidays in Islam, Eid al-Adha does not have an exact date on the Gregorian calendar and is celebrated every year at different times. It’s because the Islamic calendar is based on lunar cycles. Eid al-Adha is celebrated 70 days after the Eid Al-Fitr holiday, on the 10th day of the month Zil-Hajj (also called Dhu al-Hijjah), which is the 12th month of the Islamic calendar. The holiday is preceded by the sacred Day of Arafah.
The night before Eid al-Adha is best spent in wakefulness. In the morning the believers need to take a bath, put on clean clothes (and better if it’s new), anoint the body with incense and go to the mosque to provide a holiday prayer. It is not recommended to eat before the prayer. At the end of the prayer, the believers return home, and then they gather in groups on the street or in the courtyards, where they sing the tribute to Allah (Takbir or Takbeer). Then they go back to the mosque or to the designated area, where they listen to sermons. At the end of the sermons, Muslims usually go to the cemetery to pray for the deads. Returning from the cemetery, the believers proceed to the sacrifice.
And in the days after the holiday, the believers visit relatives and friends, acquaintances, give each other gifts. And if you meet a Muslim friend on this day, be sure to congratulate him with the words “Eid Mubarak” (“Happy holiday”) — this will make him pleased. However, it will be great if you will congratulate strangers as well.
On the first day of the holiday Eid al-Adha, the atmosphere is very calm in Dubai. But in the next two days, the city will be covered with festive fun. There are many recreational activities in which everyone wants to take an active part. These days shopping centers, various venues, and restaurants are full of people. This is a time of general fun and happiness. And if you are in Dubai, you can share the festive mood with a lot of people.