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Middle East
Hajj Diary: Eid reflections
With the hardest parts of the pilgrimage behind, a sense of joy is emerging.
Last Modified: 12 Dec 2008 06:14 GMT

Despite major incidents in the past, stoning the 'devil' went smoothly this year [AFP]

It's day five ... I think. Things have been moving so fast and so much is happening that I've lost sense of time!

Today is the first day of Eid, one of two Islamic celebrations and holidays in the Muslim world.

Growing up I would always look forward to this day, when I would wear my new clothes, go to the mosque and visit friends and families. In the evening the family would sit to a delicious meal prepared by my mother.

Today's Eid is a little different. Although I don't have any new clothes, I no longer have to wear the Ihram (two plain white cloths), so I almost get that same feeling.

In the morning we greet each other with the Eid greeting of "May God accept your good deeds and may each year bring you peace and good health".

Smooth operation

Aside from the sense of joy that comes with Eid, there is a noticeable sense of relief amongst us all. The hardest parts of Hajj have come and gone and we are all grateful that we have managed to perform them.

In depth

Map - Tracking Hajj

Hajj Diary
Day 1: Arriving in Mecca
Day 2: Secure supplication
Day 3: A hard day's work
Day 4: Destination Arafat
Day 5: Eid Reflections
Day 6: Time to head home

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Today we're filming the pilgrims as they throw pebbles they collected from Muzdalifa at the Jamaraat - three columns representing the devil - in Mina.

It's here that casualties have occurred in recent years, with stampedes and crowd crushing on several occasions.

But a new extension built by the Saudis has evidently made a positive difference.

Several levels have been added to the site, with the flow of pilgrims now moving across the Jamaraat bridge in an extremely-organised fashion.

Here, at least, the Saudi authorities have definitely lived up to their expectations.

In the afternoon we sit down to a traditional Saudi meal called Kabsa. Roasted sheep is placed over rice served on a large tray and several of us eat from the same plate.

Despite not having Eid dinner with my family, I definitely feel like I am sitting and eating with brothers.

Overwhelming joy

Whenever we have filmed on this trip, pilgrims have always made a point of waving to the camera. Others have asked to be filmed, whilst some will just place themselves in front of the camera regardless.

And while it has been annoying at times - especially when there's a deadline to meet - it has made me take note of one thing: the sheer happiness that these people feel, the overwhelming joy they are experiencing because they have been able to fulfil what truly is a journey of a lifetime.

It is this heart-warming feeling that they are so selflessly adamant to share with viewers across the world.

Source:
Al Jazeera
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