Many blessings to our Muslim readers! Eid Mubarak! Kul 'am wa enta bi-khair!
Muslims observe two major holidays: Eid al-Fitr (at the end of the annual fasting month of Ramadan), and Eid al-Adha (at the end of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca).
In 2011, Eid al-Adha begin on or around November 6th, and will last for three days.
Eid al-Adha or Feast of Sacrifice is probably the most important feast of the Muslim calendar.
It lasts for three days and commemorates Ibraham's (Abraham) willingness to obey God by sacrificing his son.
Muslims believe the son to be Ishmael rather than Isaac as told in the Old Testament. Ishmael is considered the forefather of the Arabs. According to the Koran, Ibrahim was about to sacrifice his son when a voice from heaven stopped him and allowed him to sacrifice a ram instead.
The feast re-enacts Ibrahim's obedience by sacrificing a cow or ram. The meat from the sacrifice of Eid al-Adha is mostly given away to others. One-third is eaten by immediate family and relatives, one-third is given away to friends, and one-third is donated to the poor. The act symbolizes the willingness to give up things we care for in order to follow Allah's commands. It also symbolizes the willingness to give up some of our own bounties, in order to strengthen ties of friendship and help those who are in need. Muslims recognize that all blessings come from Allah, and they should open our hearts and share with others.