Eid Al-Adha: Origins, Symbolisms, & Celebrations

The Center for Art, Humor & Soul seeks to recognize those cultures and religions outside of the normative white Christian lens. Many may not know about what today’s Muslim feast day, Eid Al-Adha, means to followers of Islam. Here’s a peek inside.

a bunch of people gathered around a place of worship in Islam in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, called Hajj, which is an image captured by Adli Wahid, unsplash.com
Mecca Hajj by Adli Wahid via unsplash.com

According to bbc.co.uk, “The word 'Eid' means 'feast' or 'festival'. Eid al-Fitr - which means 'festival of the breaking of the fast - is celebrated at the end of Ramadan, a month when many adult Muslims fast. Eid al-Adha - which means 'feast of the sacrifice' - is celebrated just over two months later, at the same time when many Muslims perform the Hajj pilgrimage. Eid al-Adha coincides with the end of Hajj - the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, and is generally considered the holier of the two.”

I reached out to my friend Faireen Lalani who practices Islam and asked her some questions about Eid Al-Adha— What it means to her and her experiences celebrating it.


What does Eid Al-Adha mean to you?


Eid Al- Adha symbolizes the sacrifice, observed by Muslims around the world in commemoration of one of the greatest trials of faith in the life of Prophet Ibrahim, when he was tested to sacrifice his beloved son. At the moment of the sacrificial act, a Merciful intervention spared his son’s life. To us, EID AH-ADHA is a festival that reminds us that Allah is the most Merciful and he loves his children.


Recently, I came across this article that took a different perspective on EID AL-ADHA which was when Prophet Ibrahim was asked to sacrificed his most beloved thing, it was not the son that Allah was asking for the sacrifice, it was the ATTACHMENT that we humans face when he love something which could be attachment to a person, thing, or even an habit. And as we know, our life is beyond this material world any attachment to it is not healthy so this festival is also a reminder to slaughter any unhealthy attachments we may have.



A flat lay of couple of dishes: Lamb leg at the center, another meat dish to the side, and two other side dishes on the top and bottom all set on a wooden table. This photo was sourced from Unsplash.com and was taken by Rumman Amin
Lamb Leg and Other Dishes by Rumman Amin via Unsplash.com


How do you celebrate Eid Al-Adha?


The celebrations would include early morning prayers and having the house cleaned and food set up on the EID Eve for welcoming family and friends on the day of EID. After morning prayers, family and friends would gather at my house, we would eat and laugh. The elders give young members of the family EIDI (which can be gifts or money) as a token of love and blessings. The festivities would continue all day by visiting other family and friends houses and of course more eating!


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For me for instance, growing up as a person of different faith in a Middle Eastern country, UAE, Eid Al-Adha was a national holiday that I got to celebrate along with my Muslim friends who celebrated it. As a part of the festivities, tables would be set up with delectable food, and one or more lamb dishes were almost always there. To honor these memories, I’d love to share an article that combines a bunch of common dishes that are cooked across different countries and cultures to celebrate Eid: “EID-AL-ADHA 2021: WHAT FOOD DO PEOPLE EAT TO CELEBRATE?” by independent.co.uk. I hope you have a lovely Eid, for those celebrating!

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