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Eid-al-Adha is the Festival of Sacrifice. It commemorates the willingness of the prophet Ibrahim (Abraham in English) to sacrifice his son to Allah. According to the Koran, a voice from heaven halted the sacrifice and Ibrahim slayed a sheep instead. Muslims today are expected to sacrifice an animal if they can afford it, sharing the meat with those who are less fortunate as a commemorative act of charity.
Eid-al-Adha is celebrated at the end of the Hadj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, a key event in the life of Muslims. Because of discrepancies between the Arabic lunar calendar and the common calendar, the date varies from year to year and country to country. In 2012, in the United States the three-day holiday begins on Oct. 25.
Eid-al-Adha is one of two Eid (pronounced "eed") festivals celebrated during the year. Eid-al-Fitr marks the end of the fast month of Ramadan.
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