“Wait, it’s Hari Raya again?” Yes, but this time it’s Hari Raya Haji aka Eid-al-Adha! Keep reading to find out why Muslims celebrate this holiday
Hari Raya Haji, also known as Hari Raya Aidiladha or Eid-ul-Adha around the world, falls on Tuesday, 20 July 2021 this year. It’s a public holiday for everyone in Singapore, but do you know anything about Hari Raya Haji?
What’s the difference between Hari Raya Haji and Hari Raya Puasa?
Hari Raya Puasa aka Eid-ul-Fitr was celebrated on 13 May 2021 and signified the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, while Hari Raya Haji is celebrated to mark the Muslim pilgrimage (hajj), and is a day when Muslims usually perform the annual ‘korban’ ritual.
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What is the ‘korban’ ritual?
Hari Raya Haji commemorates the willingness of the Islamic prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ismail in an act of obedience to God. The korban is one of the main rituals, and involves the sacrificial slaughtering of livestock such as cows, sheep or goats. The sacrifice ritual is done quickly (the jugular vein at the animal’s throat is slit quickly to ensure the quickest death possible), then the meat is cleaned and distributed to the community, the poor and needy.
Currently due to the pandemic, the korban ritual is not being carried out in Singapore. Muslims in Singapore have raised funds to conduct the ritual in countries such as Australia, Indonesia and Cambodia instead, where the meat will be distributed to the communities there.
What do Muslims do on Hari Raya Haji?
Besides the korban ritual, Muslims usually congregate to perform Hari Raya Haji prayers in the morning at the mosque and then visit close family members just like they do during Hari Raya Puasa.
We use it as an opportunity to gather (safely during these uncertain times!), have a hearty meal and strengthen family bonds.