Events & Festivals > Festivals & Celebrations

Hari Raya Haji

By: kimberly on 12 Mar 2013
Each year, Muslims from around the world embark on a pilgrimage (the Hajj) to Mecca, the holy city in Saudi Arabia. This significant journey is the fifth pillar of Islam, and a religious duty that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so. Hari Raya Haji is the celebration of the end of this pilgrimage.

Hari Raya Haji is also known as the Festival of Sacrifice (Eid al-Adha), where Muslims remember Prophet Ibrahim's readiness to obey God, even to the extent of sacrificing his son Ismail. During this festival, Muslims sacrifice cows, sheep, or other suitable animals, for their religion and community, remembering how a ram was provided by Allah as a substitute for Ibrahim's son.

This festival usually falls on the 10th day of the 12th month (Dhu al-Hijjah) of the lunar Islamic calendar, which is 11 days shorter than the regular Gregorian calendar. On this day, Muslims are expected to dress in their finest clothing to perform the Eid prayer in a large congregation. Male volunteers usually perform the sacrificial slaughtering after congregational prayers at mosques or Muslim institutions.  Prayers are uttered while the sheep's throat is quickly slit with razor-sharp knives so that the animal does not have to endure a lot of pain, which is a key Islamic requirement in preparing food.

The meat is then shared amongst the community. The charitable practices of the Muslim community are demonstrated by concerted efforts to see that no impoverished person is left without an opportunity to partake in the sacrificial meal during these days. In some countries, families that do not own livestock can make a contribution to a charity that will provide meat to those who are in need. People also pay visit to their parents, families and friends.

During this festival, visit mosques around Singapore to catch a glimpse of the sacrifice and gain an insight into Islam as a religion and the lives of Muslims in Singapore.

In 2012, Hari Raya Haji will fall on 26 October.

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