What is Eid al-Adha in the Philippines All About?
Eid al-Adha, or the feast of sacrifice, is one of the biggest Muslim festivals in the Philippines. This festival commemorates Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael when Allah commanded it. Upon seeing Abraham’s obedience, Allah provided a lamb as a sacrifice instead. Eid al-Adha symbolizes similar sacrifice in goat or cow, made as an offering and a practice of tradition.
Eid al-Adha or Hari Raya Haji is second to Eid Al-Fitr as the largest festival in Islam. It falls on the tenth day of the twelfth and final month of the Islamic calendar. However, this date would vary in every country as the exact date depends upon lunar sightings. It also marks the end of hajj, or the pilgrimage in Mecca, and so people also celebrate the completion of the pilgrimage. The day is a public non-working holiday in the Philippines.
How to Celebrate Eid al-Adha in the Philippines and Things to Do
During Eid al-Adha, families sacrifice an acceptable animal, whether sheep, goat, or cow, as thanksgiving and piety. The meat of the animal is then divided and shared among families, friends, and neighbors. Eid al-Adha is a big festival with joyous socializations and a hearty feast. When invited to celebrate this Eid, you can expect a large group of people to enjoy the camaraderie and food in a very cheerful mood.
Muslims start the celebration with their 6 am prayer, doing the sunnah (habitual practice) for Eid prayer. On the way to the mosque, people would greet each other “Eid Mubarak”, which means ‘blessed feast or festival’. Then, people would offer eid prayers and listen to the sermon. After the prayers and the sermon, everyone would again congratulate and greet each other with a happy eid.
There are also certain rules and practices followed when sacrificing an animal for the celebration. Primarily, those who can afford it must do so, and it is even obligatory. Secondly, the sacrificed animal must be cattle approved by the Shariah (camels, sheep, goat, and cow). The animals should be healthy and not stolen or held in pledge. Moreover, the person sacrificing should not remove the hair, nail, or skin of the animal until the day of Eid.
How Eid al-Adha in the Philippines is Celebrated
After the prayers, every Muslim joins the celebration with relatives and friends. Fasting on this day is prohibited, so every Muslim is expected to eat and participate in the celebrations. Some, after their family celebration, join relatives and friends in bigger gatherings, so it’s an all joyful affair. Later, family members may decide to stroll or do outing activities.
Moreover, Eid al-Adha also comes with an element of sharing and charity. The sacrificed meat is traditionally divided into three: one portion for your immediate family, another for your extended family and friends, and the last for those in need. In addition to the meat, the family may also give charity in the form of money and clothes to the homeless or poor. Eid al-Adha is meant to be celebrated by every Muslim, and so this practice allows those underprivileged to have the means to celebrate the festival.
Venues and Special Events for Celebrating Eid al-Adha in the Philippines
Sunnahs of Eid al-Adha
There are particular Sunnahs Muslims should follow while celebrating Eid. Some of these include waking early for the morning prayer, wearing your best clothes, and not eating before the eid prayer. Following these Sunnahs is embodying the ‘ways of God’.
The Eid prayer starts at the time when the sun is three meters from the horizon. The prayer consists of two Rak’at (Two Unit Prayer) with Tabkeer (Allah-u-Akbar) being pronounced seven times. The Eid prayer then follows the same as the daily prayer.
Sacrifice of Animal
The sacrifice of animals is very important for Muslims during Eid al-Adha. The hadith (records of Muhammad’s words and action) even warns those Muslims who can afford a sacrifice but do not perform. The sacrifice is worship to Allah and thus brings the person offering sacrifice close to God.
Sharing of Food
If the family can afford it, they should provide aid to the poor during Eid. The core of Eid al-Adha is to ensure that nobody, not even the poor and the needy, is left without food on their tables.
The Eid al-Adha is one Filipino festival you can look forward to if you want to experience the traditions and practices of the second-largest religion in the country. There’s much food, festivities, and culture you can consume that will leave both your body and spirit full. And it’s even much more enjoyable when celebrated with your family and friends.