Islam is the world’s second-largest religion, and Id-al-Adha or Bakri-Id is its festival of sacrifice. The festival coincides with the anniversary of the day when ‘Quran’ was declared complete. It is from when many Muslims undertake Haj to Mecca and people offer prayers in mosques. On the day of Id, the pilgrims reach the grounds of Mina where they sacrifice an animal each. It was here that Ibrahim is believed to have sacrificed his son. The pilgrims then shave their heads. The purpose is to be one with the millions of devotees who converge to Mecca each year for the Haj. The sacrificial meat is distributed after the ceremony among friends and family members. Special delicacies and sweets are prepared on the occasion.
According to legend, Allah commanded Ibrahim to sacrifice his son, Ismail, in order to test his faith. He agreed to do it but found his paternal feelings hard to suppress. So he blindfolded himself before putting Ismail on the altar at the mount of Mina near Mecca. When he removed his bandage after performing the act, he saw his son standing in front of him, alive. On the altar lay a slaughtered lamb. The origin of the festival comes from taking inspirations from this incident. To celebrate this event, Muslims sacrifice one animal, e.g. a bakr or goat for each family or a group of families. The sacrifice is followed by prayers at mosques, grand feasts, and merry-making. Muslims wear new garments, visit each other’s places and exchange good wishes. According to the Quranic text, the sacrifice of Abraham marked the end of the human sacrifices for the Semitic race and that surrendering one’s will and purpose completely and unconditionally is the only sacrifice that Allah requires.
In many parts, it is also called Bari-Id or Greater Eid as it lasts for four days when compared to three days celebration of Id-ul-Fitr. In Tamil, the term used is Bakr Eid Peru Naal, meaning Big Day of the Sacrifice. In Kerala and other parts of the world, Thakhir (Allahu Akbar) is recited which assert the greatness of God. Everybody in the Muslim community recites the Thakbir after draping themselves in white. Then they gather for public prayers in an open wide place- Id-Gah, which is a wide-open space. With the ending of the Id prayer, the leader delivers religious lectures to the devotees. Finally, the gathered masses hug each other warmly thus expressing loving brotherhood.
During the festival, Muslims dress in their finest clothing to perform prayers (Namaz) in any mosque. Bakri Id is celebrated by slaughtering one domestic animal (sheep, cow, or goat) in the name of Allah. Prayers are offered in the mosques and the sacrificial meat is then distributed after the Id prayers. Special delicacies are prepared and served among family and friends on the occasion.