An acquaintance asked me why it was a holiday; she was referring about yesterday's celebration. "Oh is it? What is the date today?", I answered her back with a question. I lost keeping tracks on dates these days, lots of things overpower my mind. "Today is November 16", she replied. "Ah it's a Muslim holiday", my quick reply upon hearing the date, it's my first time to hear the word so I play it safe to instead referred as a Muslim holiday than saying the words "Eid Al Adha" in case I might pronounced it wrong. I heard it on the news the other week.
Eid-Al-Adha or simply means the Feast of Sacrifice is one of the most anticipated holidays in Islam. It happens on the 10th and the last day of the Hajj (the yearly celebration of the holy pilgrimage to Mecca), in the 12th month of the Islamic lunar calendar. In Western calendar, for the year 2010 it falls on the 16th of November.
The feast commemorates Abraham unmatched faith to the Lord (Allah) when he was willing to sacrifice his own son Ishmael without any resistant by proving his faith. Convinced with his faith the Lord instead sent angel Gabriel and substituted Ishmael to a lamb as Abraham's sacrificed.
Muslims all over the world celebrates this occasion in several ways. Of course an animal is the center of feastivity, it could be a lamb, a goat or a camel but if you're in a tropic country like the Philippines a cow is a good replacement and sacrifice it in the same way Abraham sacrificed the lamb. One-third of the meat should be given to the poor as part of the sacrifice, the other one-third will be given to friends and the rest goes to the holiday feast by the immediate family which will takes place at the high point of the day.
This act symbolizes willingness to give up things that are of benefit to us or close our hearts or the willingness to give up our bounties, to strengthen ties and friendship and help those who are in need. This is also to recognize that all blessings come from Allah and we should therefore open our hearts and share with others.
Happy Eid-Al-Adha to all our Muslim brothers.