Eid al-Adha, the Feast of the Sacrifice, is an important Muslim festival starting later this week. It is one of two ‘Eid’ festivals, and is celebrated by both Sunni and Shia Muslims. According to location, it’s also known by many other names, including Greater Eid, Id-ul Zuha, or Baqri Id (Bakrid). Apparently even the Fiesta del Cordero (Festival of the Lamb) has its roots in the celebration dating back to the times of Moorish Spain.
Tied to the lunar calendar, and following the Hajj – a special pilgrimage to Mecca – this year it starts on or around October 26 (2012) and lasts four days. It’s an important time of prayer, remembrance, gift giving, feast and sacrifice.
Food is shared. Charitable acts are important to ensure the less well off can also celebrate.
Its roots are in commemorating which commemorates Ibrahim’s (Abraham’s) willingness to sacrifice his much loved son in obedience to Allah – the ultimate sacrifice.
If you’re Muslim, why not use the Eid, as many do, as a chance to invite non-Muslims work colleagues to Eid festivities as a way of introducing them to Islam and Muslim culture?
And if you’re not Muslim, but work with Muslim colleagues, it’s important to respect the celebration, and not expect them to be working over the period. It’s a time for family and friends, as important in the Muslim calendar as Christmas is in the Christian calendar, or Thanksgiving in the USA. Why not ask about the festivities and plans? Colleagues usually appreciate you asking about what’s important to them, and you’ll know what you can expect over the coming period.
(There is more about achieving cross cultural success to be found here.)