Eid al-Adha Guide for Expats in KSA | Features – History & More

  • Publish date: Monday، 19 June 2023 Last update: Monday، 03 July 2023
Eid al-Adha Guide for Expats in KSA | Features – History & More

Eid al-Adha, also known as the "Festival of Sacrifice," is the second of two great Muslim festivals, the other being Eid al-Fitr. Eid al-Adha marks the completion of the Hajj pilgrimage, but is celebrated by Muslims throughout the world.

When is Eid al-Adha celebrated? 

Traditionally, Eid al-Adha is observed on the 10th day of the Islamic month of Dhul-Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic calendar and one of its holiest months. 

This year, Eid Al-Adha is now confirmed to fall on Wednesday, June 28th, by the Supreme Court of Saudi Arabia as a result of the crescent sighting. 

Eid al-Adha Guide for Expats in KSA | Features – History & More

How long is Eid al-Adha?

Eid al-Adha continues for an additional three days after the 10th day of Dhul-Hijjah. 

When is Eid al-Adha public holiday?

The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development (MHRSD) in Saudi Arabia has announced that the public holiday for Eid al-Adha will be observed from Wednesday, June 28th, to Friday, June 30, 2023. Employees are usually off on Saturday in the Kingdom, so they will join the work from Sunday, July 2nd.

Eid al-Adha prayer

Eid al-Adha is distinguished by the performance of communal prayer at daybreak on its first day. Family members attend the Eid al-Adha prayer together, either at a mosque or an open field. Men, women, and children are encouraged to attend.

An Imam or someone qualified to lead the prayer generally leads the prayer in two rak'ahs (units of prayer). The prayer begins with the recitation of Takbeerat (Allah is the greatest) as the Imam and the congregation say "Allahu Akbar" in unison seven times.

Prayer is followed by a sermon, or khutbah, a sermon that usually focuses on the importance and the significance of Eid al-Adha.

Eid al-Adha Guide for Expats in KSA | Features – History & More

Eid al-Adha history and origins

The origins of Eid al-Adha can be traced back to the story of the Prophet Ibrahim and his willingness to sacrifice his beloved son, Ismail, as an act of obedience to Allah, as he received a command from Allah in a dream to sacrifice Ismail. Being an obedient son, Ismail willingly agreed to be sacrificed for Allah.

As Ibrahim and Ismail prepared for the sacrifice, Allah intervened and replaced Ismail with a ram at the last moment. 

Eid al-Adha Guide for Expats in KSA | Features – History & More

The act of sacrifice in Eid al-Adha

Muslims believe that Eid al-Adha is a way to honor Ibrahim's example and reaffirm their own commitment to Allah. Hence, the act of sacrificing animal, called as Udhiya, is an important part of Eid al-Adha festivities.

Various animals are sacrificed in this ritual in Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries, such as sheep, goats, cows, and camels.

The Udhiya is done on 10th, 11th, or 12th days of Dhul-Hijjah. It is usually done by Muslims after the Eid al-Adha prayer.

Muslims distribute the meat from the sacrificed animal to three parts among their family members, relatives, as well as the poor and people in need.

Guidelines for the animal sacrifice in Eid al-Adha

In order to comply with Udhiya festival rules, slaughterers ought to follow these guidelines:

  • The animal should be slaughtered with a sharp knife
  • The knife should not be sharpened in front of the animal
  • No animal should be slaughtered in another animal's presence
  • It is necessary to say "Bismillahi Allahu Akbar" before slaughtering the animal
  • Waiting until the animal has cooled completely before skinning it
  • The sacrificed animal has to meet certain rules - age and size
    • A goat (at least one-year-old)
    • A bull, cow or buffalo (two years old minimum)
    • A sheep (at least one-year-old)
    • A camel (five years old minimum)

Eid al-Adha Guide for Expats in KSA | Features – History & More

Festive activities during Eid al-Adha 

Eid al-Adha is a special occasion for Muslim families, and it is celebrated with great joy and enthusiasm. 

Eid al-Adha is a time for visiting with friends and family and for exchanging gifts.  It is common to give money, toys, or clothing as Eid gifts.

On the days of Eid al-Adha, men and women wear new or traditional clothes, and children often receive new outfits as gifts. They all dress in their finest attire.

Women may also adorn their hands with henna designs.

Family members visit each other's homes and gather throughout Eid al-Adha to share food. They mostly arrange a huge family dinner a way of celebrating Eid. From savories to sweets, tables across Saudi Arabia and Muslim countries will be spread with lavish meals.

Some families may also visit the graves of deceased relatives to pay their respects.

Families may also engage in fun activities, such as going to amusement parks, going to shopping malls, watching movies and shows, or playing games together.

Eid al-Adha Guide for Expats in KSA | Features – History & More

Eid al-Adha greetings

Muslims greet each other with "Eid Mubarak" or "Eid al-Adha Mubarak" and exchange hugs and kisses.

Eid al-Adha Guide for Expats in KSA | Features – History & More

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