Eid al-Adha, also known as the 'Festival of Sacrifice', commemorates Abraham's (Ibrahim's) willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael (Isma'il) to God, before the God intervenes and gives him a ram to sacrifice.
This year Eid al-Adha begins at sunset on Sunday, 6 November 2011, and ends at sunset on Monday, 7 November 2011.
Celebrated annually on the 10th day of the 12th and the lst Islamic month of Dhu al-Hijjah, the celebrations start after the Hajj descends from the Mount Arafat. The date is approximately 70 days (2 Months & 10 days) after the end of the month of Ramadan, i.e. Eid-ul-Fitr. Ritual observance of the holiday lasts until sunset of the 13th day of Dhu al-Hijjah.
Muslims celebrate by slaughtering an animal such as a sheep, camel or goat as it is believed that Allah has given us power over animals and allowed us to eat meat, but only if we pronounce His name at the solemn act of taking life.
The meat from the sacrifice is mostly given away. One-third is eaten by the immediate family and relatives, one-third is given away to friends and one-third is donated to the poor.
This act symbolizes their willingness to give up things that are close to their hearts or benefit them, in order to follow Allah's commands. It also symbolizes their willingness to sacrifice in order to strengthen ties of friendship and help those who are in need.