Kurman Ait, or Feast of Sacrifice

Kurban Ait, also known as Eid al-Adha or the Feast of the Sacrifice, is the holiest feast in the Islamic calendar. It takes place on the tenth day of the month of Dhu al-Hijjah, after the end of the Hajj pilgrimage. Since the exact date depends on the lunar calendar, Kurban Ait can vary from year to year, or even happen twice in one Gregorian year.

Many of the rites of the Hajj come from Abraham’s life, including the Zamzam Well and the Kaaba. The final trial was when Abraham was told to sacrifice his son, Ishmael (though Muslims assume that Ishmael was the chosen son, his name isn’t mentioned in the Quran, and in the Bible, Abraham is told to sacrifice Isaac). Abraham tried to kill his son, but then looked down and found a ram slaughtered in his place. Abraham had proven his love to God, and so his son was spared. In honor of Abraham’s faith, animals are sacrificed on Kurban Ait, and families keep a third of the meat, with the other two thirds being donated to friends and to the poor.

The faithful will dress in their best clothing and attend special morning prayers, after which they will visit friends and family. Lots of food is prepared, making sure that the needy are included and don’t go hungry. Gifts are also given to children, and several days are given as holidays off work.