Muslims in Asia celebrate Eid al-Adha with sacrifice festival and traditional feast

Muslims in Asia are celebrating Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of Sacrifice, one of the biggest holidays in the Islamic calendar

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Muslims in Asia on Monday celebrated Eid al-Adha, 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 Eid al-Adha 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 Eid al-Adha have been influenced by other religions.

Residents in Yogyakarta, an ancient center 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 food in bamboo containers to the town’s square where they eat together after praying. Locals believe the procession will provide prosperity and that disaster would come if it was abandoned.

Eid al-Adha 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. In the Christian and Jewish telling, Abraham is ordered to kill another son, Isaac.

In Malaysia, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim joined thousands of congregants, including foreign tourists, and offered morning prayers at a mosque near his office in Putrajaya, south of the capital Kuala Lumpur.

Meanwhile at a wholesale market in Selayang, just outside the capital, Muslim workers there knelt on mats placed on a large piece of white cloth laid outside the market to perform their prayers.

In his message, Anwar said the opportunity to go on the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca is one of God's great gifts and should make one more ascetic and simpler.

“I invite Muslims to live the message of simplicity that is preached in Hajj, to always be humble and not be mesmerized by the attraction of temporary worldly riches,” Anwar said, “Let’s not deviate from this goal. The world should be a bridge to the eternal land.”

Muslims in India, where they comprise 14% of the population, celebrated Eid al-Adha on Monday across the country.

In New Delhi, thousands offered prayers at the historic Jama Masjid, a 17th century mosque. Families assembled early in the morning and many people shared hugs and wishes after the prayers. Numerous merchants with goats gathered on the streets leading to the mosque where people bargained with them for the best price.

Devotees across Bangladesh, a Muslim-majority nation of over 170 million people, on Monday marked the festival in open fields and mosques where many prayed for a better world free from war.

More than 400,000 devotees, the country’s largest congregation, offered their prayers at a field in Kishoreganj district in the morning.

In the capital, Dhaka, a prominent imam led a gathering on the Supreme Court grounds where 35,000 men and women participated.

Millions of cattle were slaughtered across the country to celebrate the day.

___

Associated Press writers Eileen Ng in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Rishi Lekhi in New Delhi and Julhas Alam in Dhaka, Bangladesh, contributed to this report.

Devout Muslims greet and hug each other after offering Eid al-Adha prayers at the Jama Masjid, in New Delhi, India, Monday, June 17, 2024. Muslims around the world celebrate Eid al-Adha by sacrificing animals to commemorate the prophet Ibrahim's faith in being willing to sacrifice his son. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Credit: AP

icon to expand image

Credit: AP

Muslims perform an Eid al-Adha prayer at Al-Mashun Great Mosque in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia, Monday, June 17, 2024. Muslims around the world celebrate Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of the Sacrifice by slaughtering livestock whose meat later be distributed to the needy to commemorate Prophet Abraham's (Abraham to Christians and jews) readiness to sacrifice his son Ismail on God's command. (AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara)

Credit: AP

icon to expand image

Credit: AP

A man kisses a bull before slaughtering it on the occasion of the Eid al-Adha holiday, in Karachi, Pakistan, Monday, June 17, 2024. Eid al-Adha or Feast of Sacrifice, the most important Islamic holiday, marks the willingness of the Prophet Ibrahim, Abraham to Christians and Jews, to sacrifice his son. During the holiday, which in most places lasts three days, Muslims slaughter goat, sheep or cattle, distribute part of the meat to the poor. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

Credit: AP

icon to expand image

Credit: AP

A woman has her hands painted with traditional henna as she attends Eid al-Adha prayers at historical Badshahi mosque in Lahore, Pakistan, Monday, June 17, 2024. Eid al-Adha or Feast of Sacrifice, the most important Islamic holiday, marks the willingness of the Prophet Ibrahim, Abraham to Christians and Jews, to sacrifice his son. During the holiday, which in most places lasts three days, Muslims slaughter goat, sheep or cattle, distribute part of the meat to the poor. (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary)

Credit: AP

icon to expand image

Credit: AP

Devout Muslims offer Eid al-Adha prayers at the Jama Masjid, in New Delhi, India, Monday, June 17, 2024. Muslims around the world celebrate Eid al-Adha by sacrificing animals to commemorate the prophet Ibrahim's faith in being willing to sacrifice his son. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Credit: AP

icon to expand image

Credit: AP

Muslims perform Eid al-Adha prayer on a street in Jakarta, Indonesia, Monday, June 17, 2024. Muslims around the world celebrate Eid al-Adha by sacrificing animals to commemorate the prophet Ibrahim's faith in being willing to sacrifice his son. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)

Credit: AP

icon to expand image

Credit: AP

Muslims attend for Eid al-Adha prayer on a street in Jakarta, Indonesia, Monday, June 17, 2024. Muslims around the world celebrate Eid al-Adha by sacrificing animals to commemorate the prophet Ibrahim's faith in being willing to sacrifice his son. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)

Credit: AP

icon to expand image

Credit: AP

A Muslim attends Eid al-Adha prayer on a street in Jakarta, Indonesia, Monday, June 17, 2024. Muslims around the world celebrate Eid al-Adha by sacrificing animals to commemorate the prophet Ibrahim’s faith in being willing to sacrifice his son. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)

Credit: AP

icon to expand image

Credit: AP

Muslims perform Eid al-Adha prayer on a street in Jakarta, Indonesia, Monday, June 17, 2024. Muslims around the world celebrate Eid al-Adha by sacrificing animals to commemorate the prophet Ibrahim's faith in being willing to sacrifice his son. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)

Credit: AP

icon to expand image

Credit: AP

Devout Muslims greet and hug each other after offering Eid al-Adha prayers at the Jama Masjid, in New Delhi, India, Monday, June 17, 2024. Muslims around the world celebrate Eid al-Adha by sacrificing animals to commemorate the prophet Ibrahim's faith in being willing to sacrifice his son. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Credit: AP

icon to expand image

Credit: AP

Muslims offer Eid al-Adha prayers outside Sidi Saiyyed Mosque in Ahmedabad, India, Monday, June 17, 2024. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)

Credit: AP

icon to expand image

Credit: AP

A Muslim makes online transfer of money through his mobile phone after buying goats for Eid al Ada, near the Jama Masjid, in New Delhi, India, Monday, June 17, 2024. Muslims around the world celebrate Eid al-Adha by sacrificing animals to commemorate the prophet Ibrahim's faith in being willing to sacrifice his son. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Credit: AP

icon to expand image

Credit: AP

People struggle to control a bull for slaughtering during the celebration of Eid al-Adha, in Karachi, Pakistan, Monday, June 17, 2024. Eid al-Adha, or the Festival of Sacrifice, is celebrated by Muslims around the world to commemorate Prophet Ibrahim's test of faith through slaughtering livestock and animals and distributing the meat to the poor. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

Credit: AP

icon to expand image

Credit: AP

People struggle to control bulls prepared for slaughtering on the occasion of the Eid al-Adha holiday in Lahore, Pakistan, Monday, June 17, 2024. Eid al-Adha or Feast of Sacrifice, the most important Islamic holiday, marks the willingness of the Prophet Ibrahim, Abraham to Christians and Jews, to sacrifice his son. During the holiday, which in most places lasts three days, Muslims slaughter goat, sheep or cattle, distribute part of the meat to the poor. (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary)

Credit: AP

icon to expand image

Credit: AP

Muslims perform Eid al-Adha prayer on a street in Jakarta, Indonesia, Monday, June 17, 2024. Muslims around the world celebrate Eid al-Adha by sacrificing animals to commemorate the prophet Ibrahim’s faith in being willing to sacrifice his son. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)

Credit: AP

icon to expand image

Credit: AP

Devout Muslims offer Eid al-Adha prayers at the Jama Masjid, in New Delhi, India, Monday, June 17, 2024. Muslims around the world celebrate Eid al-Adha by sacrificing animals to commemorate the prophet Ibrahim's faith in being willing to sacrifice his son. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Credit: AP

icon to expand image

Credit: AP

Kashmiri Muslims offer Eid al-Adha prayers outside the Hazratbal shrine on the outskirts of Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Monday, June. 17, 2024. 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. (AP Photo/Mukhtar Khan)

Credit: AP

icon to expand image

Credit: AP

Men prepare to slaughter a cow whose meat would later be distributed to the needy during the celebration of Eid al-Adha in Selayang, outskirt of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Monday, June 17, 2024. Eid al-Adha, or the Festival of Sacrifice, is celebrated by Muslims around the world to commemorate Prophet Ibrahim's test of faith. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

Credit: AP

icon to expand image

Credit: AP

Muslims gather to perform Eid al-Adha prayer in Rabat, Morocco, Monday, June 17, 2024. (AP Photo)

Credit: AP

icon to expand image

Credit: AP

Women offer Eid al-Adha prayers at historical Badshahi mosque in Lahore, Pakistan, Monday, June 17, 2024. Eid al-Adha or Feast of Sacrifice, the most important Islamic holiday, marks the willingness of the Prophet Ibrahim, Abraham to Christians and Jews, to sacrifice his son. During the holiday, which in most places lasts three days, Muslims slaughter goat, sheep or cattle, distribute part of the meat to the poor. (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary)

Credit: AP

icon to expand image

Credit: AP

People struggle to control a bull prepared for slaughtering on the occasion of the Eid al-Adha holiday, in Karachi, Pakistan, Monday, June 17, 2024. Eid al-Adha or Feast of Sacrifice, the most important Islamic holiday, marks the willingness of the Prophet Ibrahim, Abraham to Christians and Jews, to sacrifice his son. During the holiday, which in most places lasts three days, Muslims slaughter goat, sheep or cattle, distribute part of the meat to the poor. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

Credit: AP

icon to expand image

Credit: AP