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When are Hajj and Eid al-Adha 2024? | Religion News

Al Jazeera takes a look at the world’s largest religious gathering Mecca sees every year.

Hajj, the largest annual Muslim gathering, occurs in Mecca from the eighth to the 10th of Dhul-Hijjah, the final month of the Islamic calendar.

This year, based on the moon sighting, Hajj will start on June 14, with Eid al-Adha being celebrated on June 16.

Hajj is a once-in-a-lifetime obligation for all able-bodied Muslims who can afford it, intended to cleanse them of sin and take them closer to God.

Hajj begins 10 to 12 days earlier each year. The infographic below shows when Hajj is expected to take place over the next 31 years.

When is Eid al-Adha?

Eid al-Adha, the festival of sacrifice, is celebrated on the 10th of Dhul-Hijjah, coinciding with the third day of Hajj and lasts for three days. This year, it falls on June 16.

Eid al-Adha is the second major Muslim festival after Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting.

On the first day of Eid al-Adha, Muslims who can afford sacrifice an animal and distribute a set percentage of its meat to those less fortunate. This is done in symbolic remembrance of the Prophet Ibrahim, who, as per Islamic faith, was asked to sacrifice his son Ismail by God.

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How is Hajj performed?

Muslim pilgrims from all over the world arrive in Mecca in a purified state of ihram and set their intention to perform Hajj.

The state of ihram is a symbol of humility and spiritual focus and serves to unify pilgrims from different backgrounds.

For men, this means being dressed in seamless white cloth only, with one piece wrapped around the waist and another draped over the left shoulder, with the right shoulder bare at all times.

Women can wear any plain clothing of their choice but should observe the rules of hijab and cannot cover their faces.

The Hajj re-enacts the Prophet Muhammad’s farewell pilgrimage in 632 AD, in which he traced the footsteps of the prophets Abraham and Ismail through the desert.

The infographic below takes a look at the process of Hajj at a glance.

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Where do the pilgrims come from?

In 2023, some 1.85 million Muslims performed the annual pilgrimage. Nearly 90 percent (1.66 million) of pilgrims came from abroad, with the remaining 184,000 living in Saudi Arabia.

Asian countries contributed 1.05 million pilgrims, making up 57 percent of the total, followed by Arab countries (346,000) and African countries (222,000).

Male pilgrims numbered 969,694 (52.6 percent), while females were 875,351 (47.4 percent).

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Hajj in 360 degrees

For millions unable to make the pilgrimage this year, a digital experience may offer a glimpse of what it is like to worship at Islam’s holiest site. Al Jazeera produced a 360-degree VR experience that takes viewers on a tour of the major landmarks that millions of Muslims visit during the Hajj.

Experience the journey by moving your phone around or drag the video around to see what Mecca looks like from all angles.


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