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Dates : April / May. This is celebrated on the tenth day of Zilhijja.
Legend : The Id-ul-Azha commemorates the ordeal of Hazrat Ibrahim, whohad been put to a terrible test by God when he was asked to sacrifice whatever was dearest to him and decided to sacrifice the life of his son. He blindfolded hiseyes and cut off his son's head, only to discover on opening his eyes, that his son was alive and a ram had been sacrificed instead. Since then, a ram or bakri is sacrificed in the name of Allah.
Practice : The Haj celebrations at Mecca are rounded off by the sacrifice of goats or camels. In India, too, goats and sheep are sacrificed all over the country and prayers are offered. The meat is then cooked and sent to friends and relatives.
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Dates : Shab-I-Barat is celebrated on the night of the 14th Shabaan, in April / May.
Legend : According to belief, the destinies of men for the coming year are recorded on this night.
Practice : All over India, Muslims stay awake all night.
Sweets are sent to the houses of friends and relatives who died during the year, in their remembrance. Fatiha
or blessings are recited over food in the name of the Prophet, his daughter Fatimah, and his son-in-law Ali.
People also recite the Holy Koran. At night, the sky is ablaze with colourful fireworks that are set off in celebration.
Dates : The Prophet was born on the twelfth day of Rabi-ul-Awwal, the third month of the Muslim year, in September /October. His death anniversary also falls on the same day, the word barah standing for the twelve days of the Prophet's sickness.
Practice : During these days, learned men deliver sermons in mosques, focusing on the life and noble deeds of the Prophet. In some parts of the country, a ceremony known as sandal rite is performed over the symbolic footprints of the Prophet engraved in stone. Are presentation of buraq, a horse on which the Prophet is believed to have ascended to heaven, is kept near the footprints and anointed with sandal paste or scented powder, and the house and casket containing these are elaborately decorated. Elegies or marsiyas are sung in memory of the last days of the Prophet. The twelfth day or the urs is observed quietly, in prayers and alms-giving.
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