(WASHINGTON D.C., 12/18/07) – On Wednesday, Dec. 19*, American Muslims will mark the end of the yearly pilgrimage to Mecca, or Hajj, with communal prayers and celebrations at locations around the country.
The prayers, and the holiday that follows, are called Eid ul-Adha (EED-al-ODD-ha), or “festival of the sacrifice.” Eid ul-Adha commemorates the Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael at God’s command. The holiday is celebrated with the prayers, distribution of meat to the needy and social gatherings. During this holiday, Muslims exchange the greeting “Eid Mubarak” or “blessed Eid.” This year, up to 15,000 American Muslims went on Hajj.
Eid prayers are held in the early morning. Many communities also hold day-long festivals for families. The Eid prayers and festivals are held either in local mosques or in public facilities designed to accommodate large gatherings. Call local Muslim organizations for details about Eid prayers and celebrations.
Local mosques and Muslim groups may be located at: http://www.islamicfinder.org
* Eid-ul-Adha prayers will be observed based on moon-sighting.
PHOTO OPPORTUNITY: Each year, Muslims from America and many different countries come to the prayers in colorful attire. The prayers themselves are quite visual, with worshipers arranged in neat rows and bowing in prayer in unison. Participants exchange embraces at the conclusion of the prayers.
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