Eid al-Adha Holiday in United Arab Emirates
Eid al-Adha, also known as the Festival of Sacrifice, is a significant Islamic holiday celebrated in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). In Arabic, the festival is referred to as عيد الأضحى (Eid al-Adha). The holiday commemorates the willingness of the Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son Ismail (Ishmael) as an act of obedience to Allah. However, Allah provided a lamb for Ibrahim to sacrifice instead, sparing his son's life.
Eid al-Adha occurs on the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah, the final month of the Islamic lunar calendar. The exact date varies each year due to the Islamic calendar being based on lunar cycles, causing the holiday to shift approximately 11 days earlier in the Gregorian calendar for each successive year.
The United Arab Emirates, as a predominantly Muslim country, has been observing Eid al-Adha since its formation in 1971. The holiday has a long history in the region, as it is deeply rooted in Islamic tradition and the story of Ibrahim and Ismail, which is also shared by the Jewish and Christian faiths.
National customs for Eid al-Adha in the United Arab Emirates
Eid al-Adha is a national public holiday in the UAE, with both private and public sectors enjoying a break from work. The celebration typically lasts for three days, and various events and activities take place during this time.
One of the most important customs is the act of sacrifice, known as Qurbani. Muslims who can afford it will purchase an animal, usually a sheep or a goat, and have it slaughtered in a humane and halal manner. The meat is then divided into three parts: one-third is given to the poor, one-third to relatives and friends, and the remaining third is kept for the family.
Prayer is another essential aspect of Eid al-Adha in the UAE. Muslims attend special prayers, called Salat al-Eid, at mosques or designated prayer areas in the morning. The prayer is followed by a sermon, and worshippers are encouraged to donate to charity as part of the holiday's spirit of giving and sharing.
Families and friends gather to enjoy festive meals featuring the sacrificed meat, as well as traditional Emirati dishes. It is also common to exchange gifts and visit the homes of loved ones during this time.
Local customs for Eid al-Adha in the United Arab Emirates
While the overall customs of Eid al-Adha are consistent across the UAE, each emirate may have its unique ways of celebrating. For example, some areas might hold colorful parades or cultural events showcasing traditional Emirati dances and music. Additionally, several shopping malls and entertainment venues offer special promotions and activities during the holiday period.
Eid al-Adha is a deeply significant and widely celebrated holiday in the United Arab Emirates, reflecting the country's strong Islamic heritage. It is a time for prayer, giving to the less fortunate, and coming together with loved ones. The customs and traditions associated with Eid al-Adha play an essential role in preserving and promoting the cultural identity of the UAE.