On February 11th, Moslems will celebrate one of their major holidays, Kurban-Bairam (Turkic), or Id al-Adha (in Arabic). Islam uses the lunar calendar, which is shorter that the Gregorian one. This accounts for the annual change in the Moslem holiday dates.
According to a centuries-old tradition, Kurban-Bairam is celebrated 70 days after Uraza-Bairam, a holiday marking the end of the Moslem fast in the holy month of Ramadan. Kurban-bairan takes place on the tenth day of the zul-hidj month, which usually witnesses pilgrimage to the Islamic sacred places in Saudi Arabia and symbolizes the end of hadj.
Judaism, Christianity and Islam appeared in the same region. Islam, the youngest of the three religions, borrowed from the other two not only a number of postulates, but also part of the epic information. The Arab name of the holiday, Id al-Adh, has some connection with the legend about Abraham's offering. Ibrahim (the Arab name for Abraham), whom Moslems consider to be the first monotheism preacher, was ready to offer his son Ismail (the biblical Isaac) in sacrifice. However, at the last moment the angel replaced Ismail by a sacrificial animal, and Id al-Adh was established to commemorate this.
It begins with a holiday prayer and offering of cattle - preferably camels, cows or bulls, goats or sheep - in sacrifice to Allah, following a certain ritual. As a rule, smaller cattle or poultry are not used for this purpose. At least two thirds of the meat are given to the poor and orphans. Moslems put on new clothes, visit their relatives, give alms and go to their relatives' graves.
The main devotions of the holiday, which lasts 2-3 days, are performed by hadj participants in the Min valley not far from the Mecca, near Caaba and the Zam-zam holy spring. It is there, where, according to the legend, Ibrahim was preparing for the offerings.
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