As declared by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, September 1, 2017 is Eid-el-Kabir day. How much do you know about the history and purpose of this holiday?
Eid-el-Kabir, also called the “Sacrifice Feast“, is the second of two Muslim holidays celebrated worldwide every year. It is considered the holier of the two and honors Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael – an act of obedience to God’s command. Just as Ibrahim was about to slaughter Ishmael for the sacrifice, Allah intervened by sending his angel Jibra’il, to provide a sheep to be slaughtered in place of Ishmael. In commemoration of this, an animal (usually a ram in Nigeria) is sacrificed and divided into three parts: the family retains one third of the share; the other third is given to relatives, friends and neighbors; and the remaining third is given to the poor and needy.
Eid-el-Kabir marks the end of the Hajj the annual pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia which must be undetaken once in a lifetime by all physically and financially capable Muslims. Eid al-Fitr, which this year was marked on June 26 and 27, is held to celebrate the end of the month-long fasting period of Ramadan.
When does Eid-el-Kabir begin?
Like other Islamic celebrations, Eid-el-Kabir is guided by the lunar calendar, and always begins on the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah – known as Arafat Day, or the climax of the annual Hajj pilgrimage period. In the Gregorian system, the date can vary over a period of 11 days.
In 2017 the celebration begins on Friday 1 September, although in Muslim majority countries the public holiday often starts the day before.
How long does it last?
Eid-el-Kabir is marked by a four or five day public holiday in most Muslim countries – although in Turkey and Qatar celebrations last for 10 days and in Saudi Arabia a whole fortnight.
How is it celebrated?
Eid-el-Kabir is also known as the ram festival as there is always a lot of mutton to eat and share. Muslims put on their finest clothes for morning prayers both before and after sunrise, which are followed by family meals and the exchange of gifts. The period is seen as an important time for charity work as phototropic Muslims distribute food to beggars, handicapped and less privileged people in the streets and motherless homes.