When Is Eid al-Adha 2023? Why the Date Changes Every Year

Along with the month of Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr, another holiday observed by many practicing Muslims is Eid al-Adha. Eid al-Adha is actually the most significant of the Muslim holidays, which is why it's sometimes referred to as "The Greater Festival." If you're wondering when Eid al-Adha is in 2023, or want to know more about why the date moves each year, we've got the answers for you here.

As you might already know, Eid al-Fitr is also known as the Festival of Breaking the Fast, and it marks the end of Ramadan. Similarly, Eid al-Adha marks the end of Hajj — one of the five pillars of Islam. Hajj is an annual pilgrimage to Makkah (or Mecca) and nearby cities, and all healthy, adult Muslims who can afford to travel are obligated to perform Hajj in their lifetime. The significance of Eid al-Adha is that it reminds people to trust that God is good and follow His Revelation, even if we don't understand it at first. Eid al-Adha is celebrated around the world by enjoying feasts, attending prayer services, reciting the Eid takbir, and engaging in charity towards others.

As for why the date isn't the same year to year, 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

When is Eid al-Adha 2023?

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 19, 2023. 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 June 29, 2023 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 17, 2024, June 7, 2025, and May 26, 2026. All dates are approximate and subject to sighting of the crescent moon for Dhul-Hijjah in upcoming years.

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