Eid Al Adha: Saudi Arabia announces first day of Islamic holiday

July 31 will be the first day of the holiday known as the Festival of the Sacrifice

Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court announced that Friday, July 31, will be the first day of Eid Al Adha, the official Saudi Press Agency said.

The Islamic holiday coincides with the Hajj pilgrimage and is known as the Festival of the Sacrifice, in honour of Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God.

Monday's announcement follows a confirmation by the moon-sighting committees in the kingdom.

The court said that because the crescent could not be sighted on Monday, it determined that the important Hajj ritual at Mount Arafat in Makkah would be on Thursday, July 30, followed by the Eid Al Adha a day later.

Employees in the country’s private sector will be given four days off, from July 30 until August 2, SPA reported.

Public-sector employees in Saudi Arabia will have a two-week holiday from Friday, July 24, to Saturday, August 8.

The Hajj is reduced in scale this year because of coronavirus and only about 1,000 pilgrims are allowed as against the millions who usually attend. The pilgrims began a seven-day quarantine on Sunday.

The official data on Monday showed that 37 more people had died from coronavirus in Saudi Arabia, bringing the death toll from the pandemic to 2,523 people in the kingdom. The authorities have confirmed 253,249 cases.

People from outside the kingdom are not allowed this year. Both Saudi Arabian citizens and residents are among the selected pilgrims.

The Hajj guidelines also mandated that pilgrims among the foreign residents are first-timers and aged between 20 and 50.

All those undertaking the ritual in Mount Arafat and Mina must stay in designated areas, stick to the assigned walking route, wear a face mask at all times, maintain physical distancing and only eat the food provided.

Once Hajj is over, the pilgrims will undergo a second quarantine period.

The Saudi government removed most restrictions on internal travel and local business last month to restart the economy while urging people to follow social distancing and other coronavirus precautions.

Updated: July 21, 2020 04:43 PM

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