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Throughout the year, a number of festivals are celebrated in India, and more so in the month of August. From Ekadashi and the Shivratri for the Hindus, to Onam for the Kerala Hindus and now Bakr Eid for the Muslims, the month has brought a number of festivals our way. The festive season is in full swing and we await the coming of the Bakr Eid.
Bakr Eid is one of the two most awaited festivals of the Islamic tradition, the other being Eid al-Fitr. It is also known as Eid al-Adha where the literal meaning of the term is the festival or the feast of the sacrifice.
Eid al-Adha falls on the tenth day of Dhu al Hijjah, and the dates according to the Gregorian Calendar vary almost by eleven days each year. Dhu al Hijjah is the twelfth month of the Islamic calendar. This year, Bakr Eid will be observed on August 23.
How Is Bakr Eid Celebrated?
On the tenth day of Dhu al Hijjal, all the devotees offer prayers at the mosque after the sunrise. The day of prayers can be postponed to the eleventh or the twelfth as well, as per the need by the mosque authorities, but it remains the same for all once decided.
All the people celebrate the festival in a congregation, where the participation of women depends from community to community. Depending on the status of the family, they sacrifice an animal as halaal, as was the will of Ibraham to sacrifice his son, for his dedication to God. The animal has to be a domestic one, whether a cow, a goat, sheep, camel, etc.
After the prayers of the day, halaal is the most important part of the traditions followed on Bakr Eid. This feast is then distributed among the relatives and friends. While one-third part is kept with oneself, another one-third is distributed to the friends, relatives and neighbours. The remaining one-third is given away to the poor and the needy. People visit their friends and relatives and invite them to the feast after the prayers. Women of the house, wear new clothes and prepare many good dishes for the family as well as the friends.
Bakr Eid began to be celebrated with a story which goes like this. Once God had challenged the prophet Ibrahim, who was believed to be a friend of God. God told him to sacrifice something very dear to him. To show his devotion, Ibrahim decided to sacrifice his son. But impressed by him, God sent an angel named Jibrail, to help him out. This angel put a sheep in place of his son, who was to be sacrificed. And it was from that day that the tradition of sacrificing an animal as a dedication to the God on Bakr Eid is followed.