The UAE’s federal government workers will have a four-day holiday to mark Eid Al Adha.
Employees will be off from Monday to Thursday, July 19 to July 22, returning on Sunday, July 25. Federal government departments and ministries will be closed on those days.
Similar announcements are expected for the private sector later today.
Eid Al Adha is among the most important festivals in Islam. This year, it falls as schools finish for the summer, when hundreds of thousands of people are expected to travel.
Festival of the sacrifice
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.
Ibrahim dismissed the dream at first, but it recurred several nights in a row.
He grappled with the decision but ultimately decided to fulfil God’s command, even though the Devil tried to dissuade him. Ibrahim threw rocks at the Devil in response; pilgrims at Hajj re-enact this by throwing stones at symbolic pillars.
The worshippers pelt three walls in one of a series of rituals that must be performed by those who make the journey.
Just as Ibrahim was about to carry out the command, God replaced his son with a goat and told him to sacrifice the animal instead.
Muslims now celebrate the holiday by eating the meat of a sacrificed animal.