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FG declares June 28, 29 as public holidays

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By Abraham Adekunle

This is to mark this year’s Eid-el-Kabir celebration nationwide.

Nigeria’s Federal Government has recently declared June 28 and 29, 2023, as public holidays to mark this year’s Eid-el-Kabir celebration. This was announced in a statement that was issued by Oluwatoyin Akinlade, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Interior, on June 26. He urged Muslims and all Nigerians to make sacrifices for the growth and development of our communities and our great country, Nigeria. With the governments decision to declare these two days as holidays it was issued in an official statement release.

It continues: “In the spirit of this special occasion, during which we commemorate the great virtues of obedience, sacrifice and faith as exemplified by Prophet Ibrahim (Peace of Allah be upon him), Muslims, and indeed all Nigerians, are enjoined to make sacrifices for the growth and development of our communities and our great country, Nigeria. We are hopeful that the prayers and sacrifices that come with this great celebration, as well as the message of Eid-el-Kabir, will bring about peace, unity and progress in Nigeria.”

Eid is an Islamic commemoration of Abraham’s sacrifice.

Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of Sacrifice, is the second and the largest of the two main holidays celebrated by the Muslim faithful. The first is Eid al-Fitr, which is celebrated by Muslims because it marks the end of the one-month-long dawn-to-sunset fasting done in Ramadan. The second honors the willingness of Ibrahim (the equivalent of Abraham in the Judeo-Christian Bible) to sacrifice one of his sons to show his obedience to God. But before Abraham could sacrifice his son, God provided him with a ram for his son’s place.

In remembrance of God’s involvement on that mount, Muslims ritually sacrifice animals, usually rams. Part of their meat is eaten by the family that offers the animal, and the rest is distributed to the poor and the needy. The day that this is done is also sometimes called the Greater Eid. However, both Eid celebrations are not mentioned in the Qur’an. In the Islamic lunar calendar, Eid al-Adha falls on the tenth day of Dhu al-Hijja, which is the twelfth and final month in the Islamic calendar.

Etymology and date in the Gregorian calendar.

The Arabic word “Eid” (ʿīd) means “festival,” “celebration,” “feast day” or “holiday.” It has associated root meanings of to go back, to rescind, to accrue, to be accustomed, habits, to repeat, to be experienced; appointed time or place, anniversary, or feast day. The holiday itself can be called Eid-al-Adha or Eid-el-Kabir in Arabic. The word “Adha” (aḍḥā) means “sacrifice” (animal sacrifice), “offering” or “oblation.” As for the origin, the story of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son is known as the Akedah in Judaism (Binding of Isaac) and originates in the Torah, the first book of Moses (Genesis, Chapter 22), to which the Qur’an references.

While the celebration is always on the same day of the Islamic calendar, its date on the Gregorian calendar varies from year to year. This is because the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar and the Gregorian calendar is a solar calendar. A solar calendar is one whose dates indicate the equivalent position of the sun relative to the stars. The lunar calendar is approximately eleven days shorter than the solar calendar. Thus, the Supreme Judicial Council announces the official date every year.

Future dates of Eid Kabir are tentative till announced.

As of 2023, the year on the Islamic calendar is 1444. The official date announced for the celebration of Eid is June 28, 2023. For 2024, it is calculated to be June 16, 2024. For 2025, it is tentatively June 6, 2025. However, until the Supreme Judicial Council announces an official date has been confirmed by moon sighting and applied on the 29th day of the lunar month prior to Dhu al-Hijja. Due to the International Date Line, the date each year falls on one of about two to four Gregorian dates in parts of the world.

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