Eid-ul-azha is another Islamic festival in Jammu Kashmir. The festival is celebrated on the 10th of the last month of Islamic Lunar Calendar. This is another obligatory festival for Muslims. The festival lasts two and half days. On this occasion, two days are declared as public holiday in the entire state. This Eid has a lot of significance and every Muslim has to make sacrifice of any animal, if he can afford it. The rest of the celebrations are quite similar to the Eid-ul-Fitr.
The word Eid literally means happiness. It is the occasion of joviality and happiness for Muslims. On this day people in Kashmir go for prayers, chanting hymns, to the Eidgah, a large ground where thousands of people gather to pray. People pray for the peace and prosperity of the world. After the prayers, people hug each other and wish happy eid to each other. The people then return to their homes.
After returning home, people get busy in sacrificing the animals bought already. The animals are slaughtered and then distributed among the neighbours, relatives and poor people. People are seen carrying large pieces of meat in baskets and distributing them. The ritual of sacrifices lasts almost three days. The festival is celebrated to mark the occasion when Prophet Abraham was tested by Almighty Allah to sacrifice his only son. The Prophet passed the test as he set forth to slaughter his son. But Almighty miraculously saved his son and put a lamb instead there. From there it became mandatory on every Muslim to sacrifice some animal on the day, if he can afford it. The festival is celebrated in the month of Zil Hajj, when the largest pilgrimage of Muslims to Mecca is held. Eid-ul-Azha marks the end of the pilgrimage.
Like Eid-ul-Fitr, this festival also is an occasion of merry making and people of the valley, who generally love food, prepare great feasts and relish them in lunch and dinner. A number of dishes are prepared. People visit the houses of their relatives and neighbours to wish them happy eid.
People wear new clothes and as a token of happiness, the elders give money to children, which make them happy. Great fairs and markets are organised on the occasion, which last for weeks together. Eid-ul-Fitr is one of the two Islamic festivals of Muslims.
The festival is celebrated according to the Islamic Lunar Calendar and thus the dates vary each year. Generally the festival is celebrated about 10 days ahead of the date on which it is celebrated in the previous year. This year the Eid-ul-Azha falls on 16th and 17thOctober, subject to the appearance of crescent.