Muslims across India Thursday celebrated Eid-al-Adha (locally called Bakr Eid) with religious fervor and gaiety.
The devout Muslims across major Indian cities gathered at Eidgahs and mosques to offer special Eid prayers. Placed shoulder-to-shoulder in prayers, devotees bowed down in the direction of the Kaaba, the Muslim holiest city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
Later on, Muslims were seen hugging each other and exchanging Eid greetings.
In the capital Delhi, the main congregations were held at Jama Masjid, Fatehpuri mosque and Shahi Eidgah. Undeterred by rains, people wearing bright new clothes gathered in large numbers to offer congregational prayers.
Following the prayers, believers subsequently joined the practice of sacrificing animals.
Eid-al Adha is also called Bakr Eid due to the practice of sacrificing animals.
“Among well-off Muslims, it is incumbent they should offer the sacrifice of animals on Eid-al Adha,” said Mufti Zia-ul Haque, a religious scholar. “The meat of the sacred animal is then divided properly as per instructions and distributed among relatives, neighbors, friends and poor.”
Around 2 million Muslims converged in valleys and hills around Mecca as part of annual Hajj pilgrimage, according to media reports.
Ahead of the festival, shoppers thronged markets to purchase foodstuffs like bakery, sweets and confectionary, and new clothes. One of major attractions was the purchase of sacrificial animals like sheep, goats, etc. Butchers and nomads were seen roaming around cities and towns to sell the food.
Eid in Muslim communities also means celebrating time among family and friends. Giving pocket money and presents to children on this occasion is one of main rituals. Special foods and delicacies are prepared and money is also distributed to the poor and needy.
Muslims are a minority in India, which accounts for over 14 percent of the country’s 1.4 billion population.