Today at sundown marks the beginning of Eid-al-Adha, one of the most important holidays for Muslims around the world. Also known as the Feast of the Sacrifice or Greater Eid, Eid-al-Adha is one of two Eids in the Islamic calendar. It follows Eid-al-Fitr, the Festival of the Breaking of the Fast, which follows the Month of Ramadan.
Eid-al-Adha marks the conclusion of the Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca. Every year, millions of Muslims from around the world gather in the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. All able-bodied Muslims who can afford to do so are expected to perform the pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime.
In Canada and around the world, many Muslims who are not performing the Hajj will attend congregational prayers in the morning. They will celebrate the following three days by making charitable donations, visiting friends and family, and enjoying festive meals. Children look forward to this holiday because they will often receive gifts.
Eid-al-Adha provides an opportune time for all Canadians to reflect on the many significant contributions that the Muslim community has made to Canada.
As Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, I encourage all Canadians to learn more about Islam. I also want to take this opportunity to extend my best wishes for a happy Eid-al-Adha to all Canadian Muslims.
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