Middle East: Eid al-Adha 2016 date is expected to be on September 11

This year, the holiest Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha is expected to begin on Sunday, September 11.

The Eid al-Adha is Islam's holiest festival celebrated annually around the world and an official holiday in Muslim-majority countries.

Eid al-Adha 2016 is expected to begin on Sunday, September 11. Authorities in Saudi Arabia will confirm the actual dates of the Muslim festival and the Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca on September 1 based on the sighting of the moon.

If a new moon is sighted on September 1, then the first day of Eid al-Adha will be celebrated from September 11. But if the moon is not visible on the month's first day, then the festival will be celebrated on Monday, September 12.

In the Islamic calendar, Eid al-Adha occurs on the 10th day of the Dhu al-Hijjah lunar month, and is also the third day of the Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca.

In the United States, the Fiqh Council of North America has said it will follow the Eid date announced by the authorities in Mecca, and so will the European Council of Fatwa and Research. 

Holiday tradition

For Muslims, Eid al-Adha commemorates the day when prophet Abraham was going to sacrifice his son but was instructed by God to offer an animal instead. Eid al-Adha in Arabic literally means "festival of the sacrifice". 

Traditionally, the festival lasts for four days but public holidays vary from country to country.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim announced that Turkey will observe a nine-day public holiday for Eid, known in Turkey as Qurban Bayram, from Saturday, September 10 until Sunday, September 19.

As in Eid al-Fitr 2016, the UAE, Kuwait and Bangladesh are also likely to observe a nine-day public holiday over the same dates as Turkey.

In the Philippines, Eidul Adha has also been a public holiday since 2002.

Stuart Beaty

Celsium, Birmingham, UK