The festival of Eid is observed by over 1.6 billion people across the world.
Eid al-Adha marks the end of Hajj (a pilgrimage to Mecca), while Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan (Ramzan). In the international Gregorian calendar, the dates vary from year to year shifting approximately 11 days each year. In 2019, the Eid al-Adha began on August 11 and Eid al-Fitr was celebrated in June.
Why do dates for Eid al-Adha or Bakri-eid and Eid al-Fitr's keep changing?
Eid al-Adha falls on the 10th day of the month of Dhul Hijjah, the 12th and final month of the Islamic calendar.
The start of Dhul Hijjah is dictated by the sighting of the moon, so Eid al-Adha cannot be worked out until the first day of the month is announced. The lunar year on which the Islamic calendar is based runs for around 354 days.
Because the Gregorian calendar used by most of the Western world is a solar calendar, running for 365 days, the time taken for the earth to orbit the sun, then Islamic dates drift back by 10 or 11 days every year.
The same stands true for Eid al-Fitr, too.
Here's all you need to know about 'Eid'
Eid marks one of the most important events in the Islamic calendar. There are two types of eid:
1. Eid al-Fitr
2. Eid al-Adha / Bakri-Eid / Eid Qurban
Eid al-Fitr or the Festival of Breaking the Fast
Eid or Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan, which is a month of fasting. Eid kick-starts the month of Shawwal, which begins with a feast to end the period of fasting. It is forbidden to fast on the Day of Eid.
Eid al-Adha or the Festival of Sacrifice
Eid al-Adha is considered the holiest of the Islamic festivals.
It honours the willingness of the prophet Ibrahim (known in the Christian Old Testament as Abraham) to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God’s command.
However, before Ibrahim carried out the heartbreaking request, God, referred to as “Allah” in Islam, produced a lamb for him to sacrifice instead.
To commemorate this event, an animal is sacrificed and divided into three parts in an act known as Qurbani. One part of the goat is given to the poor, the second to the immediate family at home, and the third is reserved for relatives. There are usually four days of holiday for Eid al-Adha but it can range from three to as many as 16 days in different countries.