THE Eid al-Adha is Islam’s holiest festival celebrated annually around the world and an official holiday in Muslim-majority countries.
For Muslims, Eid al-Adha commemorates the day when prophet Abraham was going to sacrifice his son but was instructed by God to offer an animal instead. Eid al-Adha in Arabic literally means “festival of the sacrifice”.
Eid al-Adha 2016 was expected to begin on Sunday, September 11. But on Friday September 2, the supreme court in Saudi Arabia announced that the Muslim festival of Eid will be on Monday, September 12.
The actual dates of Eid are confirmed based on moon sighting. If a new moon was sighted on September 1, then the first day of Eid al-Adha would have been on September 11. But since the moon was not visible, the festival will be celebrated on Monday, September 12.
In the United States and Canada, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the Fiqh Council of North America follow the Eid date announced in Saudi Arabia.
Since 2015, schools in New York also close for Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr.
Muslim communities in Europe will also observe Eid on September 12 as per the European Council of Fatwa and Research and the London Central Mosque.
In the Islamic calendar, Eid al-Adha occurs on the 10th day of the Dhu al-Hijjah lunar month, and is also the third day of the Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca.
Pakistan and Bangladesh are among several countries which sight the moon locally, and thus have their own lunar calendars.
According to the Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee in Pakistan, the first day of the Dhu al-Hijjah lunar month was September 4, whereas it was September 3 according to Saudi Arabia’s Umm al – Qura calendar .
Hence, Pakistan and Bangladesh will celebrate Eid ul-Azha on Tuesday, September 13. India will also observe Eid on September 13.
Traditionally, the festival lasts for four days but public holidays vary from country to country.
As in Eid al-Fitr 2016, Turkey will observe a nine-day public holiday for Eid, also known as Kurban Bayrami or Eid el-Kabir. The holiday break will be from Saturday, September 10 until Sunday, September 18.
With exceptions, most Arab countries will also observe a nine-day public holiday from Friday, September 9 until Saturday, September 17.
In Saudi Arabia, the Ministry of Civil Service announced a 12-day holiday break, which will include the days of the Hajj pilgrimage. – Al-Jazeera