Muslims worldwide celebrate the biggest holiday of the year with COVID-19 precautions and creativity
Millions of Muslims worldwide this weekend celebrated Eid al-Adha, one of the two Islamic holidays of the year. Celebrated this year between July 30 and Aug. 3, Eid al-Adha, or the “Feast of Sacrifice,” is a holiday meant to commemorate the story of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham). During the holiday, Muslims worldwide sacrifice an animal—most often a goat, sheep, or cow—to distribute the meat to a family in need. The holiday is marked by the end of Hajj, the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia—one of the core Islamic pillars of faith. Those who are able to both afford the five-day trip of Hajj and physically able to complete it without hardship are required in Islam to do so at least once in their lifetime.
Each year more than 2 million Muslims visit the kingdom for Hajj and even more, approximately 7 million, visit during the time of umrah. Amidst fear of spreading the novel coronavirus, Saudi Arabia temporarily closed its doors to foreign pilgrims in March. In June, it announced that it would allow up to 1,000 individuals, all from within the kingdom, to attend Hajj. The news devastated millions who planned trips and possibly spent years saving for the religious pilgrimage.