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Eid al-Adha in Iran – Sacrifice and Charity

With a Muslim population of around 82,000,000 (or nearly 99.5% of the country), Iran is a hotspot for Islamic celebrations and observances. 

In this article, you’ll learn about one of the most important dates on the Islamic calendar: Eid al-Adha (or Eid-e-Qorban in Persian pronunciation). From this holiday’s origins to how devoted Muslims celebrate it today, will guide you through everything you need to know. 

Let’s get started!

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1. What is Eid al-Adha?

A Young Goat

Eid al-Adha, often called “The Feast of the Sacrifice” in English, is one of the most important Muslim holidays worldwide. 

It originates from the story of Ibrahim, who was willing to sacrifice his son Ismael. According to the Quran, Ibrahim had asked Allah to give him a son, and Allah did so. But as Ismael grew older, Ibrahim began having recurring dreams of slaughtering his son and realized it was an order from Allah to sacrifice his son. Upon Ibrahim telling his son this, Ismael told his father to do as Allah willed. Ibrahim prepared his son for the sacrifice and was about to slaughter him, but was stopped by a voice. This voice told him that the “vision” had already been completed. Ibrahim was given a lamb to sacrifice in Ismael’s place, and Ismael was revealed to be a righteous prophet.

Today, the Muslim celebration of this holiday focuses on selflessness and serves as a reminder that Allah blesses the faithful. Eid al-Adha is also associated with the willingness to give up cherished possessions to glorify Allah.

2. When is Eid ul-Adha in Iran?

Calendar Showing the Tenth Day of Dhu al-Hijjah

The date of Eid al-Adha varies each year on the Gregorian calendar, as it takes place on the دهم ذی الحجه (dahom-e zelhaj-jeh), or “tenth day of Dhu al-Hijjah.” The holiday then lasts for roughly three days. 

Here’s a list of this holiday’s tentative start date for the next ten years.

YearStart Date
2020July 31
2021July 20
2022July 10
2023June 29
2024June 17
2025June 7
2026May 27
2027May 17
2028May 6
2029April 24

Note that these dates may not be entirely accurate, and may vary. The date of Eid al-Adha is officially determined each year by professional moon-sighters, and the dates above are only expected estimates.

3. How is Eid al-Adha Celebrated?

Muslims Gathered at a Mosque for the Eid al-Adha prayer

The most important of Eid al-Adha observances in Iran is that of the حج (haj), or “hajj.” This is the pilgrimage to Mecca and the Kaaba that practicing Muslims take each year (or at least once in their life), and Eid al-Adha marks the final rites of this hajj. The hajj is one of five pillars of Islam, making it an obligation for every Muslim. 

Many Muslims gather together in mosques for an Eid al-Adha prayer and offer each other Eid al-Adha wishes. Due to the occasion’s significance, most people wear new, high-quality clothing to attend the mass. 

In light of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son—and Allah’s provision of a گوسفند (goosfand), or “lamb,” to sacrifice in Ishmael’s place—most Muslims also make an animal sacrifice. This is usually a lamb or goat, which must be young and in good condition. The meat of the sacrificed animal is then split into three portions: one portion to give to the poor, one portion to take home to one’s own family, and one portion to give away to friends and relatives. 

It’s important to note that this sacrifice is not made as an atonement for sins, and it’s said that the blood and meat of the sacrifice do not reach Allah at all. Rather, this sacrifice is more about charity and giving, which are things that please Allah. As a result, on Eid al-Adha, even poorer Muslims are able to enjoy some good meat-based dishes! Kebabs and meaty stews are the most popular. 

Another custom for this holiday is to visit one’s family and offer them Eid al-Adha greetings. In particular, Muslim families will often ask each other for forgiveness during the visit. Doing so can clear the air of any negative feelings and allow them to better enjoy their time together. 

4. Draining Blood? 

On Eid al-Adha, Iranian Muslims often do something called ذبح (zebh), or “exsanguination.” This is when the sacrificial animal’s blood is drained, usually by slitting its throat, before it’s slaughtered. 

This is done in order to ensure that the animal’s meat is halal, and therefore fit for eating. According to the Quran, it’s forbidden to eat the blood of an animal, and there are certain rules concerning how an animal must be slaughtered to permit eating it. 

5. Essential Eid al-Adha Vocabulary

Muslims Gathered at the Kaaba during the Hajj

Let’s review some of the Persian vocabulary words and phrases from this article! 

  • عید قربان (eid-e ghorbaan) — “Eid-e Qorban”
  • دهم ذی الحجه (dahom-e zelhaj-jeh) — “tenth day of Dhu al-Hijjah”
  • ابراهیم (ebraahim) — “Abraham”
  • اسماعیل (esmaa’il) — “Ishmael”
  • زائران کعبه (zaaeraan-e ka’be) — “Kaaba’s pilgrims”
  • حج (haj) — “hajj”
  • گوسفند (goosfand) — “lamb”
  • حاجی (haaji) — “hajji”
  • اعمال حج (a’maal-e haj) — “hajj rituals”
  • ذبح (zebh) — “Exsanguination”
  • نماز عید قربان (namaaz-e eid-e ghorbaan) — “Eid al-Adha prayer”

Remember that you can study these words further on our Persian Eid-e Qorban vocabulary list with audio pronunciations! 

Final Thoughts

The importance of Eid al-Adha in Iran can’t be overstated. This is a time of reaffirming one’s faith, coming together with fellow Muslims, and helping those in need. 

What are your thoughts on Eid al-Adha? Is there a similar celebration in your country or faith? Let us know in the comments! 

To continue learning about Iranian culture and the Persian language, check out these free resources from the blog:

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Stay safe out there, and happy Persian learning!

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