By Farah Adan:
The Kenyan government has declared Monday, the 12th September, 2016 to be a public holiday to mark Idd-ul-Adha 2016.
The announcement was carried in a special gazette notice dated September 9, 2016 by Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Co-ordination of National Government Joseph Nkaissery.
“The Government has taken this step so as to allow all Kenyans to share in celebrating that auspicious Holy Day together with our Muslim brothers and sisters; on a day that celebrates sacrifice and unwavering obedience to the Greater Good, the Government urges Kenyans of all faiths to contemplate how each and every one of us can align our actions towards making our society better for ourselves as well as for future generations” reads a statement by State House spokesman Manoah Esipisu.
The declaration is a first in Kenya where only Eid ul Fitr which is celebrated upon completion of the Muslim fasting month Ramadhan used to be recognized as a public holiday.
Muslims throughout the world celebrate the holiday of Eid al-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice) to mark the end of the Hajj (annual pilgrimage to Makkah).
During the Hajj, Muslims remember and commemorate the trials and triumphs of the Prophet Abraham.
One of Abraham’s main trials was to face the command of Allah to kill his only son. Upon hearing this command, he prepared to submit to Allah’s will. When he was all prepared to do it, Allah revealed to him that his “sacrifice” had already been fulfilled.
During the celebration of Eid al-Adha, Muslims commemorate and remember Abraham’s trials, by themselves slaughtering an animal such as a sheep, camel, or goat.
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.
On the first morning of Eid al-Adha, Muslims around the world attend morning prayers at their local mosques. Prayers are followed by visits with family and friends, and the exchange of greetings and gifts. At some point, members of the family will visit a local farm or otherwise will make arrangements for the slaughter of an animal. The meat is distributed during the days of the holiday or shortly thereafter.