Guest Author - Preena Deepak
Muslims in India join with their brethren around the globe to observe ‘the feast of sacrifice’ or ‘Eid al-Adah’ on the 10th day of the month Dhul Hijjah in the Islamic calendar. The festival is observed over a period of three days and Muslims in India abide by the traditions and celebrate Eid al-Adah with pomp and gaiety. Eid al-Adah also coincides with the pilgrimage undertaken by Muslims to Mecca (Haj)
Eid al-Adah is celebrated in remembrance of divine intervention that saved the Prophet Ibrahim’s son from being sacrificed. According to Islamic belief, the Prophet Ibrahim received a revelation from Allah to sacrifice his only son Ismail. With much burden the Prophet proceeds to obey God. However in honor of his faith, God provides a ram for the sacrifice in the place of the Prophet’s son. Since then Muslims have set aside Eid al-Adah as a festival to sacrifice an animal, either a camel, goat, sheep or cow.
In India, Eid al-Adah is commonly referred to as Bakrid (bakri is goat in Hindi) since it is common for goat sacrifices to be offered for the occasion. Depending on a family’s financial status an animal is procured for the sacrifice. There are certain specifications followed while selecting animals and only those without defects and blemishes are chosen to be offered. Economically backward families join in with others and contribute to buy an animal. Those rearing animals offer any one of their farm or domestic animals as a sacrifice.
The animal offered is split into three portions, one for the consumption of the family, the other to be distributed to friends and neighbors and the third portion to be given away to the poor. Through this tradition, Muslims in India ensure that the joy of their celebration extends beyond their home and that all are included.
On Eid al-Adah or Bakrid, Muslims clean up and wear new clothes. The day begins with a prayer session that is often held in an open area, to accommodate all. Following this Eid greetings are exchanged and the festivities commence in full swing. Giving gifts and sweets to family and friends are also important ingredients of the festival. A sumptuous platter is prepared and the feast is shared with all.
Bakrid is a recognized festival in India and is declared a holiday for schools, colleges and other establishments. Some families make use of the day for outings after feasting on traditional delicacies.
On the whole, Bakrid is an interesting celebration that adds its special hue to colorful Indian festivals and celebrations.
Here's an interesting book for further reading on Islamic traditions
Buy "Understanding Islam And Muslim Traditions: An Introduction to the Religious Practices, Celebrations, Festivals, Observances, Beliefs, Folklore, ... World's Musli (Holidays, Religion & Cultures)" from Amazon.com
This book is an appropriate guide for children to understand Muslim Festivals.
Buy A YEAR OF RELIGIOUS FESTIVALS: MY MUSLIM YEAR from Flipkart.com