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When is Eid al-Adha 2020? Date prediction for the festival, and how it’s different to Eid al-Fitr



Eid al-Adha falls later in the year than Eid al-Fitr, which commemorates the lifting of the fasting month of Ramadan

Friday, 22nd May 2020, 3:41 pm

Updated Friday, 22nd May 2020, 3:42 pm

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The two Eid festivals are among the holiest events in the Muslim calendar – here’s everything you need to know about Eid al-Adha this year, and how it’s different to the Eid al-Fitr celebrations in May.

What is Eid al-Adha and why is it celebrated?

Otherwise known as the “Festival of the Sacrifice”, Eid al-Adha is considered the holier of the two Islamic Eid festivals.

It honours the famous story of the willingness of the prophet Ibrahim (known in the Christian Old Testament as Abraham) to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God’s command.

However, before Ibrahim carried out the heartbreaking request, God, known as Allah in Islam, produced a lamb for him to sacrifice instead.

To commemorate this, an animal is traditionally sacrificed and divided into three parts in an act known as Qurbani. One part of the sheep is given to the poor, one to the immediate family at home and one is reserved for relatives.

Some Muslims may give money to charity to give poorer families the chance to have a proper Eid feast. Mosques and community groups will often arrange communal meals.

It is unclear at this stage whether the communal aspects of Eid al-Adha can go ahead in this year’s celebrations (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

When does Eid al-Adha take place?

Eid al-Adha falls on the tenth day of Dhu al-Hijjah, the twelfth month of the Islamic Hijri calendar.

Because this is based on the lunar cycle, in the more comonly used the Gregorian calendar this date shifts from year to year, moving forward around 11 days annually.

The nature of the Hijri also means that the it’s not possible to predict its date exactly. However, in 2020 it’s predicted to begin on Thursday 30 or Friday 31 July, lasting for four days.

How do Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha?

Although it remains to be seen if Covid-19 will impact on this year’s observances, given the communal nature of much of the celebration.

In ordinary times during daylight hours, once the sun has risen fully in the sky, devout Muslims will pray ahead of the Dhuhr prayer at noon.

As detailed in the Quranic story of Ibrahim, it is still common practice for people to distribute meat during the festival, often sacrificing their best halal animals in the process.

They also chant the Takbir, which is the Arabic phrase “Allāhu akbar”, or “God is great”, before and after Eid prayers.

The lunar calendar used by Muslims means it’s difficult to precisely predict the Gregorian date of festivals (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

What does ‘Eid Mubarak’ mean?

The Arabic word “mubarak” translates as “blessed,” while “Eid” means feast, festival or celebration, so “Eid Mubarak” can literally mean “blessed celebration” or “blessed feast”, although it is widely interpreted as simply wishing somebody a “happy Eid”.

What is Eid al-Fitr?

Eid al-Fitr is celebrated on the first day of the month of Shawwal, which follows Ramadan as the 10th month of the lunar-based Islamic calendar.

Its name comes from an Arabic term which translates as the “feast of breaking the fast” and, although not a public holiday in the UK, it is for many Muslim countries.

In normal years, it is traditional for Muslims to gather together in a park to celebrate breaking their fast together, with large-scale events and festival food (particularly sweet treats), prayer and stalls.

However, due to the coronavirus lockdown restrictions in place around the world, the communal aspect of Eid will not be possible for most people this year, with worshippers encouraged to observe the occasion from home.

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