The KORBAN Festival (Eid Al-Adha) is one of the most important holidays among the Uyghur people here in Xinjiang, and among all Muslims worldwide (other Muslim peoples in this region include Hui, Kirghiz, Kazahk, Uzbek, Tajik, Tatar, Salar, Dongxiang & Bonan). 'Korban' is Arabic - meaning, "to draw near," or "sacrifice/gift," also called the Festival of Sacrifice. The word is used in Genesis when referring to Cain & Abel's sacrifices, when Abraham willingly offers his son upon the altar, and later in Mark 7:11. In Islamic terms - Korban is associated with the slaughtering of a predetermined animal with the intention of drawing close to Allah. Korban begins on sunrise on the 10th day of the 12th month of the Islamic Calendar (Zhulhijah ذو الحجة) thru sunset on the 13th, right after the Eidul Adha prayers at the Mosque. This year, it happens to fall on December 20-23!
From our reading, Korban was first celebrated the 2nd year after the Muslim migration to Medina. I am not sure of those exact dates, but on or around 622CE.
Korban Laws, Rituals & Practices...
The practices have all been laid out in the Qu'ran, Sunnah & Ijmak. Very early in the morning, the homes are throughly cleaned, and everyone takes a bath & wears beautiful clothes (women wear sparkling jewelry & bright scarves, and most men wear their traditional doppa cap) - to visit the mosque. After prayers, families gather in homes to share a feast of mutton dishes, fruits, traditional cakes, and more!
There are different kinds of Korban/offerings; not all are compulsory acts. Each animal must be slaughtered in a humane way, and only certain animals are acceptable: goats, cows, camels, oxen, or sheep (healthy & of certain age) - depending on your family's ability. Acts of charity are highly encouraged and many families give a portion of the meat to the needy.
Korban is an act of worship, remembering the historical act of obedience of Abraham when God asked him to sacrifice his beloved son on Mt. Moriah. God provided a substitute sacrifice (a ram) after witnessing Abraham's obedience (Gen 22).
Activities may be different across the globe, cultures, ethnicities, etc. Uyghur people celebrate with lots of singing & dancing, while Kazakh, Uzbek, Tajik & Kirghiz people enjoy horse-races and even wrestling! **This morning - Justin saw a huge truck of sheep awaiting their final destination. We have also been invited into a friends' home to be part of their family Korban celebration on Saturday. It is such an honor to share this festival with her & her family. I will try to post pictures after the party.