The annual Islamic celebration known to South East Asians as Hari Raya Haji, also known as Eid al-Adha. Hari Raya Haji 2013 is celebrated on October 15, 2013. It begins after the culmination of the largest annual pilgrimage by able-bodied Muslims to Mecca. The end of the pilgrimage is marked as the Hajj, and is called a festival of sacrifice. The sacrifice itself is also known as a korban. The festival recognizes the prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael at the altar to Allah, as a gesture of obedience to God. According to religious text, it is believed that a ram appeared at the last minute and thus Abraham sacrificed the ram instead, and Allah was happy of Abraham’s devotion. It is a festival celebrated by all Muslims and originates from the Quran.
The festival is celebrated by returning Mecca pilgrims and by observing Muslims who remain in their country to pray and contemplate. The day begins early before sunrise with prayers and with at a gathering at a mosque. It is not a required religious obligation, but it is encouraged by those who can afford it. A sheep, cow, lamb, camel or other animal sacrifice is carried out by a male Muslim on Hari Raya Haji, and is done in a minimally painful way, with razor sharp blades to the neck. This method is considered to be in compliance, or halal, with Islamic law. Other requirements include the animal must be at least one year old and of good quality. The act of the slaughter is expected to be witnessed by everyone gathering in the festival, to understand the way it died. The location of the sacrifice sometimes occurs in the mosque. Affluent Muslims are expected to sacrifice their best animals and distribute some of the meat to those less well-off, so they may also join in the ceremony. A prayer is recited during the ceremony, mentioning Allah.
If a region does not have many animals, such as in a place with no farmland, such as Singapore, the animals are imported from a different region such as Australia for the ceremony. Additionally, wealthy families are expected to make a donation of money, food or clothing to charities such in some places. The festival is considered a time for Muslims to reflect on ethics by sharing with those destitute or less fortunate, by praying, by receiving forgiveness from elders, and by visiting the graves of their loved ones.
All Muslims on the days of the festival are expected to wear their finest or newest clothes and perform the Eid prayer. Mosques are decorated with bright lights. Muslims celebrate with pomposity. The festival is considered a very colorful day and shops are known for selling vibrant items for the celebration. They are also expected the rest of the day visiting and merrymaking with kin, including family and non-Muslim friends.
The annual date of Hari Raya Haji varies as it is calculated based on the moon’s position. It can last for several days, but is usually 2 to 3 days in length, and is a major public holiday in the countries Malysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and Brunei. It occurs on the tenth day of the Dhul Hijja, the twelfth month of the Islamic calendar, and the pilgrimage is made about seventy days after the month of Ramadan.
Happy Hari Raya Haji 2013
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