Saudi Arabia declares start dates for Hajj and Eid Al Adha

Crescent moon marking the start of the month of Dhul Hijjah was sighted on Sunday evening

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UPDATE: Eid Al Adha holidays 2023 announced for private sector

The annual Hajj pilgrimage will begin on June 26 with Eid Al Adha falling two days later, Saudi Arabia confirmed on Sunday evening.

The announcement came after the crescent moon, which heralds the start of Dhul Hijjah, the 12th and final month in the Islamic calendar, was sighted.

It means Dhul Hijjah will begin on Monday, allowing for the start dates of both Hajj - which falls on the eighth day of the month - and Eid Al Adha, which commences on its tenth day, to be determined.

Hajj will begin on Monday, June 26, followed by Arafat Day the following day, with Eid Al Adha celebrations beginning on Wednesday, June 28.

Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court had called on Muslims in the Kingdom to sight the crescent moon on Sunday evening. An official committee was set up to sight the moon at sunset.

The entire month of Dhu Al Hijja is holy, with a series of days important to the Muslim faith.

Dhu Al Hijja is considered one of the four sacred months for Muslims, called Al Ash-hur Al Hurom.

Hajj and Eid Al Adha explained:

Millions of Muslims travel to Makkah to perform Hajj each year, with many also heading farther north to the city of Madinah

All Muslims able to do so are required to make the Hajj pilgrimage to Makkah at least once in their lifetime. Hajj and the other four pillars of Islam form a foundation of life for Muslims.

The annual pilgrimage takes place during Dhu Al Hijja, the last month of the Islamic calendar and lasts for about four to six days.

More than 2 million Muslims are expected to take part this year, in a return to pre-pandemic numbers.

Eid Al Adha means “festival of the sacrifice”. It coincides with the Hajj pilgrimage to Makkah.

The sacrifice the holiday commemorates is explained in the Quran, which tells of how the Prophet Ibrahim was asked by God in a dream to sacrifice his son, Ismail, as a test of his faith.

This year, Hajj is expected to begin on June 26. The pilgrimage takes three days, with many pilgrims extending their stay by a week to pray in the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah.

Updated: June 20, 2023, 8:14 AM