The annual pilgrimage to Mecca, or the Hajj, is a once-in-a-lifetime obligation for the Muslim who is able to fulfill it (regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, social or economic status) and is one of the five pillars of Islam. It’s performed at the same time every year during the Islamic month of Dhul-Hijja (based on a lunar calendar).
The Hajj is a representation of so many elements of Islam, but in essence it is a ten-day journey in which pilgrims perform rites and rituals that date back to the time and experience of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) and his testament of faith in Allah (God) by the sacrifices he performed for His sake. The Hajj symbolizes and brings to life a host of Islamic values, for example the belief in the Day of Judgment, a Day in which Muslims believe that all of mankind will come to account for their deeds, and that this is a preparation for that time. Prayers are recited in the same manner and in some instances, the same location as did the Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) did over 1500 years ago, all of which represent firm Islamic beliefs, especially that of the equality of humankind and the injuction that “The best amongst you in the eyes of God is most righteous.”- Qur’an: chapter 49, verse 13.
‘Eid ul Adha is a three-day celebration for all Muslims (whether they have performed Hajj or not) to celebrate the completion of this journey and commemorate the trials of Prophet Abraham. It is characterized by the sacrifice of an animal (i.e. lamb, goat, camel) in which Allah’s name has been mentioned and then sharing the meat with others. Those who can afford it, should purchase one whole animal and sacrifice it or have it sacrificed on their behalf. This meat is then divided into thirds: one third for the poor, another third for extended family, friends and neighbors, another third for your own home or nuclear family.
This sacrificial meat called the Qurbani (also known as Udhiyah), is to be eaten; not wasted in any way. The ritual is a reminder of the sacrifice and the act of obedience to God by Prophet Abraham. It’s also a reminder of the sacredness of our food and that the purpose of the animals for sacrifice is much more than mere consumption.
On ‘Eid day there is a communal prayer in the morning and then families and friends gather to enjoy meals together. Many families offer their homes as a stopping point for others to come in and enjoy a buffet of traditional ‘Eid ul Adha dishes, often calling this an Open House. Though not necessarily an Islamic term per se, it has come to be known as an invitation to stop by for a short visit to eat and celebrate while on the way to other family and friends to do the same thing.
While it takes a lot to prepare, so much can be done ahead of time to get ready for ‘Eid celebrations and open houses. Here are a few shopping suggestions to get you started:
~Shopping List: Groceries & Goods for an ‘Eid ul Adha Celebration~
To make your family and friends’ favorite dishes without making things too difficult for yourself, you’ll want to get everything in order ahead of time. Dishes like hummus, baba ganooj, raita (yogurt dip) and more are almost always on the table, but of course you’ll be adding other dishes to make your ‘Eid table special, beautiful and delicious. Here are a few shopping suggestions to get you started:
(sponsored by Saffron Road, makers of halal frozen entrees and broths)
This is a screenshot of a three-page shopping list. To download the entire PDF document, click here: Shopping List for an ‘Eid ul Adha Celebration
Is there anything else you would add to this list?