NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 9 – The government has declared Monday a public holiday as Muslims mark Idd-ul-Adha.
Through a special gazette notice, Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery stated that the commemoration will mark the end of the Hajj pilgrimage.
“It is notified for the general information of the public that the Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Coordination of National Government, in exercise of the powers conferred by section 3 of the Public Holidays Act, declares that Monday, the 12th September 2016 be a public holiday to mark Idd-ul-Adha.”
The Hajj is an annual and mandatory religious duty for Muslims that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by all adult Muslims.
It is one of the five pillars of Islam, alongside Shahadah, Salat, Zakat, and Sawm.
The Hajj is associated with the life of Islamic prophet Muhammad from the 7th century, but the ritual of pilgrimage to Mecca is considered by Muslims to stretch back thousands of years to the time of Abraham.
During Hajj, pilgrims join processions of hundreds of thousands of people, who simultaneously converge on Mecca for the week of the Hajj, and perform a series of rituals.
Each person walks counter-clockwise seven times around the Ka’aba, runs back and forth between the hills of Al-Safa and Al-Marwah, drinks from the Zamzam Well, goes to the plains of Mount Arafat to stand in vigil, spends a night in the plain of Muzdalifa, and performs symbolic stoning of the devil by throwing stones at three pillars.
The pilgrims then shave their heads, perform a ritual of animal sacrifice, and celebrate the three-day global festival of Idd-ul-Adha.