Muslims in Asia celebrate Aidiladha with sacrifice festival and traditional feast


Muslims attend morning mass prayers in front of a church during Eid al-Adha celebrations in Jakarta on June 17, 2024. - Reuters

JAKARTA: Muslims in Asia on Monday (June 17) celebrated Aidiladha, or the Feast of Sacrifice, with food and prayers for people in Gaza suffering from the Israel-Hamas war.

One of the biggest Islamic holidays, the occasion commemorates Prophet Ibrahim’s test of faith through slaughtering livestock and animals and distributing the meat to the poor. It’s a joyous occasion for which food is a hallmark where devout Muslims buy and slaughter animals and share two-thirds of the meat with the poor and it’s a revered observance that coincides with the final rites of the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.

Much of Asia, including Indonesia, Malaysia, India and Bangladesh, observed Aidiladha on Monday, while Muslims in other parts of the globe, including Saudi Arabia, Libya, Egypt, and Yemen celebrated the holiday on Sunday.

On Monday, worshippers shoulder-to-shoulder joined in communal prayers in Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta. Preachers in their sermons called on people to pray for Muslims in Gaza and Rafah.

"Our prayers and thoughts are with our brother and sisters who are now suffering in Palestine,” worshipper Adi Prasetya said after praying at a field in southern Jakarta. "There are many opportunities for us now to channel our help through charities."

"May Allah give strength to those ravaged by war... may those who are divided can live in peace again,” said another devotee, Berlina Yustiza.

Although Indonesia has more Muslims than any other country in the world, its traditions to mark Aidiladha have been influenced by other religions.

Residents in Yogyakarta, an ancient centre of Javanese culture and the seat of royal dynasties going back centuries, believe that if they manage to catch the crops arranged in the form of a cone-shaped pile called "gunungan” that is paraded from the royal palace to the Kauman Grand Mosque, it can bring them good luck. They scrambled to grab various food offerings, made of fruit, vegetables and traditional snacks.

A day before the sacrifice festival, people in East Java’s Pasuruan city expressed their gratitude and respect for the sacrificial animals by dressing them as beautiful as a bride. The sacrificial cow is wrapped in a seven-fold garland, a shroud, turban and prayer mat and paraded in a tradition called "manten sapi,” or bride cow, before being handed to the sacrificial committee.

Villagers in Demak, a town in Central Java province, celebrated the holiday with a procession of livestock called "apitan” as a form of gratitude for the food and harvest. They bring foods in bamboo containers to the town’s square that they eat together after praying. Locals believe the procession will provide prosperity and that disaster would come if it was abandoned.

Aidiladha commemorates the Quranic tale of Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice Ismail as an act of obedience to God. Before he could carry out the sacrifice, God provided a ram as an offering. - AP

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Indonesia , Muslims , Aidiladha

   

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