Muslims in Russia join the Islamic world on Sunday in celebrating Eid al-Adha, Festival of Sacrifice, or Kurban Bairam, as it is called by Russian and Central Asian Muslims.
Thousands of believers will come to mosques across Russia to take part in religious ceremonies.
According to estimates, there are about 20 million Muslims in Russia, with some 1.5 million living in Moscow.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev congratulated Muslims living in Russia with Kurban Bairam, saying the festivity was instilling respect for lofty ideals common for all religions.
“This ancient holiday draws the believers’ attention to the spiritual sources of Islam. It instills respect for high moral and humanistic ideals that are common for all religions – the good, mercy and justice,” the president said in his congratulations.
Eid al-Adha comes the day after the pilgrims on Hajj, the annual pilgrimage of Muslims to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, descend from Mount Arafat.
The Festival of Sacrifice is a three-day holiday in commemoration of Prophet Ibrahim’s readiness to sacrifice his first born son Ishmael on Allah’s orders.
Nowadays, the holiday celebrates commitment, obedience and self-sacrifice in the name of Allah. All Islamic followers, who can afford it, should kill an animal as a symbol of Ibrahim’s sacrifice, and its meat is then equally distributed among family, friends and the poor.