Welcome to the David Victor Vector Blog

Welcome to the David Victor Vector blog. This is blog that covers religious observances around the world international affairs and global business. This blog describes religious holidays for most major religions as well as raising issues dealing with globalization, international business ethics, cross-cultural business communication and political events affecting business in an integrated world economy. I look forward your discussion and commentary on these articles and subjects. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Eid al-Adha

In 2014, in the evening of Saturday, October 4 at sunset through October 5 at sunset (depending on the sighting of the moon) marks the beginning of the three days of the Moslem holiday of Eid al-Adha or the Festival of the Sacrifice. Students, staff and faculty should be accommodated for observance of the holiday.

Dating the Holiday

The holiday actually begins every year on the 10 Dhu al-Hijjah in the Islamic calendar.  However, since the Gregorian calendar (the one used in the secular United States) is a solar calendar and the Islamic calendar is a lunar one, the date of Eid al-Adha (as with all Moslem holidays) appears to travel within the Gregorian calendar. 

About Eid al-Adha

Eid al-Adha is Arabic for the Festival of Sacrifice, and is named in remembrance of the readiness of Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son. In the Koran (37:99–111), the son whom Ibrahim is willing to sacrifice is not named; however, in Islamic tradition, the son is believed to be Ismail (Ishmael), not (Ishaq) Isaac as in the Jewish and Christian versions of the story.  In Islam, both sons are considered prophets. 

Another name for the holiday is Eid al-Kabir or the Greater Eid (in contrast to the earlier Eid al-Fitr, the Lesser Eid that marks the end of Ramadan). Eid al-Kabir is the name more commonly used in North Africa, Yemen and Syria. Because of this, in French, the name of the holiday is Aid el-Kebir. In Turkish, the holiday is called Kurban Bayrami and as a result, the holiday is called by some variant of Kurban in many of the languages of those nations formally under the rule of the Ottoman Empire including Kurdish, Albanian, Serbo-Croatian and Azeri as well as borrowed from the Turkish in many other languages including Russian, Pashto, Sindhi, Kazakh, Farsi, Pashto and Tatar.

Association with the Hajj

Eid al-Adha also marks the end of the Hajj to Mecca (Makkah). The Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, required of every Moslem once in his or her lifetime. For this reason, the holiday is sometimes called the Festival of the Hajj (Hari Raya Haji in Bahasa Indonesia and Bahasa Malaysia). Last year, according the official Saudi Ministry of Hajj, 2.6 million people have participated in the pilgrimage.  Of these, 800,000 came from within Saudi Arabia while 1.8 million pilgrims came from 183 nations. (For more on this, please see http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article529551.ece and http://blogs.voanews.com/breaking-news/2011/11/05/saudi-arabia-hosts-nearly-3-million-hajj-pilgrims/ ).

The Qaabah
The Hajj itself runs for five days, starting on the 8th of Dhu al-Hijjah (that is, beginning two days before Eid al-Adha begins) and continues through the end of the Eid on 12 Dhu al-Hijjah. The Hajj involves many rituals and special prayers, and this overview makes no effort to fully describe them.  Among the most notable of these is the Tawaf. The Tawaf is the counterclockwise circling seven times of Islam’s holiest site, the Qaabah (or Kaabah). The Qaabah is a large granite, cube-shaped structure which Moslems believe that Ibraham and Ismail built together after Ismail moved to Mecca. The Qaabah is covered with black silk and gold.  Inside the Qaabah is the Black Stone (al-Hajr al-Aswad) which is the focal point of the Tawaf. Many Moslems believe that the Black Stone was given to Adam and Eve to tell them where to build an altar. The Black Stone was then placed in the Qaabah by Abraham and Ismail. The Black Stone was already an object of worship when the Prophet Mohammed first visited it and kissed it. Following the Prophet’s example, pilgrims traditionally kissed the Black Stone on each of the seven circuits around the Qaabah. As the throngs of pilgrims grew, this has largely become impossible so today the pilgrims point toward the stone with their hand as they near it. The movement of the pilgrims during the Tawaf is felt to symbolize the unity of ummah (the community of all believers) as they worship the unity of Allah. 

Another important ritual is the Ramy al-Jamarat or Stoning of the Devil.  Islam views the sacrifice as a test of Ibrahim and Ismail. During this test, Moslems believe that both Ibrahim and Ismail were tempted by Shaytaan (Satan).  Ibrahim and Ismail threw stones at Shaytaan, and this is re-enacted by pilgrims at the Hajj in the ceremony of the stoning of the jamarat. Pilgrims throw pebbles at three pillars in Mina, each of differing size and symbolically representing Shaytaan’s temptation of  Ibrahim, Hagar (Ismail’s mother) and Ismail to stop the sacrifice.

While the pilgrims on the Hajj are at the center of the most significant observance on the Eid al-Adha, it is by no means limited to them alone. Indeed, Moslems the world over celebrate Eid al-Adha.  On the Eid, Moslems bathe in the morning and then traditionally dress in their best clothing before going to the mosque for special prayers. The services usually conclude with a khutba (or speech) with a spiritual message usually encouraging those listening to give up any grudges or ill will. After this, it is customary for worshippers to hug one another and to wish one another a Happy Eid.

Eid al-Adha Traditions and Food

In most traditions, believers, if (they can afford to do so) sacrifice an animal (usually a goat or sheep, although traditions vary) in commemoration of the animal God provided to Ibrahim for sacrifice in place of his son. Indeed, in West Africa the holiday is called Tabaski after this sacrifice. (For a video of Eid sacrifices on Tabaski, please see http://jangawolof.wordpress.com/2007/12/19/happy-tabaski/ ). Where animals are sacrificed, the meat is shared with others, particularly those who are less fortunate.  Many Moslems also donate food of all sorts – not just the sacrificed animal -- to the poor on the holiday.

Sheer korma

Traditions vary somewhat around the world for Eid al-Adha. In Pakistan and India after special morning Eid prayers, Moslems traditionally eat a dish called sheer korma.
Sheer korma is a mix of sweet milk, dates and vermicelli. Later in the day, South Asian Moslems also often eat dishes made from the sacrificed animal, with mutton biryani (sheep with saffron rice), mutton korma (sheep stew) and kofta (meatballs in special gravy). 

Moroccan boulfaf
In Morocco, the post-prayer breakfast is customarily herbel (wheat porridge with sugar, milk, honey and orange-flower water). The main meal of the day usually includes lamb, especially boulfaf (grilled lamb liver kababs).

Bosnian Lonac
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, people traditionally follow morning services with a large lunch of Bosnian lonac (vegetable and meat stew made in a clay pot), dolmas (stuffed onions with paprika) and sarmas (stuffed cabbage). This is usually followed by sweet desserts such as baklava.

In the United States, traditions greatly vary with people often dressing in clothes and eating foods from their ethnic origin. Eid al-Adha, as with other Islamic holidays, has received greater public attention in recent years. In 2001, the US Postal Service began releasing Eid stamps (covering both Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha).

In 2003, George W. Bush was the first President to publicly wish Happy Eid from the White House. This tradition has continued under President Barack Obama extended.  For more on President Obama's Eid al-Adha message for 2013, please see 

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/statement-president-hajj-and-eid-ul-adha

For more detail on all aspects of the Hajj, look at the Saudi government website from the Ministry of the Hajj :


http://www.hajinformation.com/main/f.htm

http://www.hajinformation.com/display_news.php?id=2188



As always, I welcome your corrections (or praise) and any other input.  In closing, let me wish you all a Eid Mubarek and a Blessed Eid!


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