Bakri Eid (Eid-al-Adha) or the ‘Festival of Sacrifice’ is one of two Muslim religious holidays. It is celebrated to commemorate Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son at God’s command. Muslims, for whom this day is auspicious believe the son being referred to is Ishmael whereas Christians, for whom this is not a religious festival believe the child in the story is Abraham’s other son Isaac. Bakri-Eid as it is commonly known in India falls 70 days after the last day of the month of Ramadan.
According to Islamic tradition Allah decided to test Abraham’s faith by commanding him to bring his son Ishmael to the land of Moriah and sacrifice him there. Not wanting to displease Allah, Abraham discussed this with his son who responded by accepting Allah’s will. Abraham made all the necessary preparations for the sacrifice but just as he was about to begin the sacrifice an angel appeared before Abraham and stopped him. In place of Ishmael Abraham sacrificed a ram.
As a symbol of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son to Allah, Muslims sacrifice a prized goat. 1/3 is kept for themselves, 1/3 is given away to relatives and well-wishers and the final 1/3 is given to the less fortunate who do not have the means to participate in this festival. People make visits to their relatives and engage in communal feasts that promote the family bond.
Apart from the Shia and Sunni communities of Islam there is also a tradition of Sufism. People who follow this tradition practice a ritual called dhikr or whirling. Find out about Sufi whirling and see if you can try this practice yourself.
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