Situated near the Chenab River on the west coast of India, Gujarat is the most industrialized state in India and a land that abounds in enchanting tourist spots. A state steeped in tradition and rich cultural heritage, Gujarat also has an abundance of festivals and celebrations. The glory and grandeur of the land gets reflected aptly through the joyous celebration of these fairs and festivals in Gujarat.
The population of Gujarat is a mix of Hindus, Muslims and Jains, with the Muslims accounting for 19% of the total populace. Hence, most of the important Muslim festivals including the Id-ul-Zuha Festival is celebrated with equal fervor and gaiety in Gujarat as in the rest of India.
Though most Muslim festivals follow their own calendar, Id-ul_zuha or Bakri Id, as it is popularly known, is celebrated in February or March every year. The festival is celebrated from the 10th to the 12th day in the Islamic month of Dhul Hijjah. Id-ul-Zuha (Bakri-Id) Gujarat coincides with the Haj pilgrimage in Mecca. Every year, when Haj pilgrims to the Mount of Mina make animal sacrifices as part of pilgrimage rituals, Muslims worldwide celebrate Id-ul-Zuha Festival.
Id-ul-Zuha (Bakri-Id) Gujarat is celebrated to commemorate the sacrifice of Hazrat (Prophet) Ibrahim, who, out of his own will agreed to kill his son at the behest of God. In celebration of this event, Muslims sacrifice one goat (Bakri) per family or per group of families. Prayers are held in moques, followed by feasting and rejoicing.
Islamic belief goes that in order to test Propeht Ibrahim’s faith, Allah (God) ordered him to sacrifice his son Ismail. Ibrahim agreed to do so but found it very difficult to supress his paternal instincts. So he put a blindfold over his eyes before putting Ismail on the altar at the Mount of Mina near Mecca. After performing the act he removed the bandage from his eyes, only to see his son standing in front of him, alive.Instaed, a slaughtered lamb lay on the altar.
During the Id-ul-Zuha (Bakri-Id) Festival in Gujarat, prayers are offered in mosques and thereafter, sacrificial meat is distributed after solemnizing the Id prayers. Special sweets and other delicacies are prepared for the festival and served to family and friends.
Every true Muslim who owns wealth equal to or more than 400 grams of gold or can afford two square meals a day, is expected to sacrifice an animal during Id-ul-Zuha (Bakri-Id) Gujarat. A goat, sheep, camel or any other four-legged animal can be slaughtered during any of the three days of the festival, and the meat should be distributed thereafter. The sacrificial offering gets divided into 3 parts – one for the self, another for frinds, and the third, most importantly for the poor and needy. The sacrfice needs to be offered any time before the afternoon of the third day.
Celebration of Id-ul-Zuha in Gujarat India is marked by festivities on the first day, with people wearing new clothes, offering prayers at the mosques and greeting frinds and relatives. Special prayers offeredon all three days. These celebrations continue for three days to ensure that the entire Muslim community worldwide can can participate in the noble act of giving and sharing.