For practicing Muslims, the most sacred time of the year is almost here. The Islamic year is made up of twelve months, with four months of the Islamic calendar distinguished as sacred. Dhul-Hijjah, the last month in the year, is one of the sacred months. Although the whole month of Dhul-Hijjah is sacred, the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah are the most venerated days of the Islamic calendar — even holier than the days of Ramadan. During these days, the Hajj pilgrimage takes place in the sanctuary of Mecca and its nearby holy land. The tenth day of Dhul-Hijjah is when the holiday of Eid al-Adha takes place.
The dates for Muslim holidays and observances are determined by the lunar calendar. As recited in the Quran:
“They ask you [Prophet Muhammad] about the phases of the moon. Say, ‘They are a means for people to determine time and pilgrimage.’” 2:189
In a lunar calendar, the amount of time it takes for the moon to go through its phases is calculated as one lunar month. The start of an Islamic month is determined by sighting the first phase of the moon, called a young moon. It’s usually a thin crescent visible to the naked eye a day or two after a new moon.
Once the start of Dhul-Hijjah is determined following the sighting of the crescent moon, the dates for Hajj and subsequently Eid al-Adha are officially announced.
When is Eid al-Adha 2022?
The date for Eid al-Adha is subject to sighting the new moon of Dhul-Hijjah, the twelfth and final month of the Islamic calendar. The crescent moon is forecast to arrive on Thursday, June 30. If the moon is sighted, that will be the first day of Dhul-Hijjah.
Eid al-Adha always takes place on the 10th day of Dhul-Hijjah. So counting 10 days from the expected start of the lunar month, this year, Eid al-Adha will take place on July 9, 2022 of the Gregorian calendar.
Eid al-Adha is typically a four-day holiday with celebrations lasting until the 13th of Dhul-Hijjah. The three days after Eid al-Adha (the 11th, 12th, and 13th of Dhul-Hijjah) are known as the Days of Tashreeq and are often considered a part of the holiday’s celebrations.
Why does Eid al-Adha's date change every year?
On the lunar Islamic calendar, Eid al-Adha is celebrated on the same date every year: 12/10 (the 10th day of the 12th lunar month, Dhul-Hijjah).
When correlated to the solar Gregorian calendar, Eid al-Adha is a "moveable feast" taking place approximately 10-11 days earlier than it did the previous year.
This happens because a lunar year consists of approximately 354 days while a solar year usually has 365 days.
Why is Eid al-Adha celebrated?
Eid al-Adha is celebrated to mark the end of Hajj, the final of the five pillars of Islam. Hajj is a pilgrimage that takes place only once every year from the 5th of Dhul-Hijjah to the 9th of Dhul-Hijjah in Mecca and its nearby sacred lands.
Every practicing Muslim who is able to perform Hajj is required to perform pilgrimage once in their lifetime. Those who are not performing Hajj in a given year may choose to honor the sacred days with voluntary fasting.
The Hajj pilgrimage is a symbolic journey tracing the footsteps of Prophet Abraham, Hagar, and their son Ismail, peace be upon all of them. Eid al-Adha is celebrated to commemorate God rescuing Prophet Abraham from a difficult test. The holiday serves as a hopeful symbol for Muslims going through their own difficult tests.
When will Eid al-Adha be in upcoming years?
Lunar Muslim holidays typically occur 10-11 days earlier than the year prior when corresponded to the solar Gregorian calendar. Over the next three years, Eid al-Adha is expected to take place on June 29, 2023, June 17, 2024, and June 7, 2025. All dates are approximate and subject to sighting of the crescent moon for Dhul-Hijjah in upcoming years.
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