Next week, Muslims throughout the world will celebrate the holiday of Eid al-Adha or the "Festival of Sacrifice." The holiday, which follows the annual Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) will begin on approximately November 27th and last for three days.
The exact dates of Islamic holidays cannot be determined in advance due to the nature of the Islamic lunar calendar. The lunar calendar also causes the holidays to move forward 11 days each year. Next year, Eid al-Adha will begin on approximately November 16th.
During Eid al-Adha, Muslims remember Abraham's willingness to obey God by sacrificing his son. A voice from Heaven stopped Abraham and he sacrificed a ram instead. Muslims commemorate the event by themselves sacrificing an animal, usually a sheep, but also camels, cows, and goats.
The preferred animal is often a yearling male. The meat from the sacrifice of Eid al-Adha is mostly given away to others. One-third is eaten by immediate family and relatives, one-third is given away to friends, and one-third is donated to the poor.
Along with Easter, Eid al-Adha is one of the most important holidays for which the demand for lamb and goat increases.
View ethnic holiday calendar 2009-2013