Eid al-Adha 2016: Why is Bakrid celebrated on 2 different days?
Eid al-Adha 2016: Why is Bakrid celebrated on 2 different days?Reuters

Eid al-Adha is one of the two major Islamic festivals celebrated around the world. The sacred festival of Muslims, otherwise referred to as "Feast of the Sacrifice," "Greater Eid," and "Baqr Eid," falls on the tenth day of the final month of the Islamic year, Dhu al-Hijjah. But the Gregorian or the Western calendar dates differ by approximately 11 days each year. This year, Eid al-Adha is expected to be celebrated on 23 September.

Although it is not confirmed that Eid al-Adha will fall on 23 September, astronomers in the UAE and other Islamic nations predict the moon to be sighted on 13 September. The celebration dates may vary from nation to nation, depending on the sighting of the moon.

Unlike Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha falls on the tenth day of the month. So the festival has not commenced based on sighting of the new moon. In fact, it is calculated 10 days from the day the month of Dhu al-Hijjah begins. Eid al-Adha celebrations last for four days and succeed the Day of Arafah.

"This means that Dhu Al Hijjah moon will be seen on September 13 and Eid Al Adha will be on September 23," Ibrahim Al Jarwan, Planetarium manager at the Sharjah Department of Culture and Information told the local Arabic press, Emirates 247 reported earlier last month.

Eid al-Adha is celebrated to commemorate the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ishmael as an act of submission to Allah (God). Muslims sacrifice sheep, lambs, cows and camels to remember Ibrahim's devotion.

Muslim countries declare a long vacation during the festival. According to Gulf News, Eid al-Adha holiday could turn in to a five-day break in the UAE. To take advantage of the extended holiday, Emirates airlines is offering special fares for travel between 3 September and 10 December, according to Emirates 247.

If Eid al-Adha falls on 23 September in the Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia, it is expected that Muslims in India will witness the festival on the following day, 24 September. In a new report from The News Tribe, Eid al-Adha will be celebrated in Pakistan on 25 September.

The western calendar dates for Eid al-Adha are yet to be confirmed around the world, which will be official once the new moon marking the beginning of Dhu al-Hijjah is sighted. It is expected on 13 or 14 September.