This year’s Muslim pilgrimage is limited to 60,000 vaccinated citizens and residents of Saudi Arabia.
Muslims around the world are celebrating the Eid al-Adha religious holiday, which, in Arabic, means the “festival of the sacrifice” and marks the end of Hajj, the five-day pilgrimage Muslims undertake to cleanse the soul of sins and instil a sense of equality and brotherhood.
Eid al-Adha commemorates the story of the Muslim Prophet Ibrahim’s test of faith when he was commanded by God to sacrifice his son, Ismail.
The belief holds that God stayed his hand, sparing the boy and placing a ram in his place.
The day is marked with the sacrifice of an animal, usually a goat, sheep or cow, and the distribution of the meat among neighbours, family members and the poor.
This year, the holiday – which starts on Tuesday – comes as many countries battle the Delta COVID variant first identified in India, prompting some to impose new restrictions or issue appeals for people to avoid congregating and follow safety protocols.