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What is Hari Raya Haji?

Friday (31 July) marks another public holiday. For many of expats this means a day off from school or work, but why?

What is Hari Raya Haji?

Hari Raya Haji, also known as Eid al-Adha, is a Muslim holiday commemorating Ibrahim’s (Abraham’s) faith and trust in God. When Ibrahim willingly prepares to sacrifice his son Ismail (Ishmael), as God had commanded, God intervenes and tells Ibrahim his sacrifice has already been accepted. Instead, he provides Ibrahim with a sheep to sacrifice.

How do Muslims Celebrate?

This is a solemn holiday for prayer and sacrifice. Muslims will dress in their finest clothing and go to mosques to pray and listen to sermons.

More importantly, is the Korban (sacrifice). Worshippers sacrifice a live animal, usually sheep, lambs, goats and cows (depending on a number of factors such as where you live, income, and what is accessible). The animal is slaughtered as prayers are recited in remembrance Ibrahim’s devotion to God.

The meat is usually divided into thirds with one third for family, one third for friends and relatives and one third for poor and needy.

After prayers and sacrifice, most Muslims will visit with family and friends and enjoy a meal.

So what is Hari Raya Puasa?

Hari Raya Puasa marks the end of Ramadan. Together, these are the “Eid holidays.”

Interesting to note:

  • The festival is 4 days.
  • In order to practice the Korban, you need trained personnel and special facilities and equipment that have met strict requirements. These costs, along with the price of livestock, make Koran increasingly expensive.
  • It marks the end of the haji (the annual pilgrimage to Mecca)
  • By some estimates, more than 100 million animals are sacrificed (in only two days).
  • In Pakistan alone nearly 10 million animals are slaughtered on Eid days costing over US$3 billion.

By Kathleen Siddell, September 2015 / Updated by Jashleen Kaur, July 2020

Photo: 123rf.com

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