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Eid al-Adha 2024 in the United Kingdom

On Eid al-Adha, Muslims commemorate Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail to Allah (God). Eid celebrations in the UK differ somewhat from those in predominantly Muslim countries.

Sheep are among the animals traditionally sacrificed on Eid ul-Adha.


The Festival of Sacrifice

Inspired by the story of the Prophet Ibrahim’s act of obedience and instituted by the Prophet Muhammad, Eid al-Adha is a celebration of unquestioning submission to God, faith, and personal sacrifice. Muslims worldwide honor the holiday by praying, sacrificing animals, giving to charity, and having a festive meal with family and friends.

Eid Al-Adha is one of the most important holidays in the Muslim calendar. It is also called the Greater Eid, while Eid al-Fitr is called the Smaller Eid.

According to Islamic tradition, Ibrahim (Abraham) agreed to sacrifice his son Ismail (Ishmael) when God ordered him to do so. However, just as Ibrahim was about to kill Ismail, God put a ram in his place.

How Do UK Muslims Celebrate Eid al-Adha?

Since the UK is home to Muslims from all around the world, Eid traditions may vary from one community or family to the next. At the same time, UK law limits some practices prevalent in certain predominantly Muslim countries, such as slaughtering sacrificial animals at home.

Eid Prayer

Like in other parts of the world, Muslims in the UK usually start the day by performing ghusl, a full-body purification ritual. They then dress in their best clothes and attend a prayer service at an outdoor prayer ground or the local mosque.

Afterward, it is customary to embrace and wish each other Eid Mubarak, which translates as Blessed Eid, give gifts to children, and visit friends and relatives.

Qurbani: Animal Sacrifice

One of the central rituals on Eid al-Adha is Qurbani, the act of sacrificing an animal. According to Islamic rules, the animal must be an adult and in good health, and it has to be slaughtered according to a set of strict rules (halal).

While it is customary in Muslim countries to slaughter the animals at home or out on the street, British law mandates that religious slaughter is done in an official slaughterhouse.

Giving to Charity

Traditionally, the meat is divided between family, friends, and the poor. In the UK, it is more common to give money to a Muslim charity helping those in need and giving less fortunate families the chance to have a proper Eid feast. Mosques or other groups may arrange communal meals.

Initiatives to improve the quality of life or opportunities in Muslim communities around the United Kingdom may be launched on Eid al-Adha. Some mosques also hold study days or lectures on aspects of Islam and Islamic history.

Family Feast

Later in the day, people usually meet with family and friends for a festive meal. While the composition of the feast in the UK largely depends on the cultural background of the family, the main ingredient is usually the meat from the slaughtered animal—for example, mutton (adult sheep), chevon (adult goat), or beef (adult cattle).

In contrast to Eid ul-Fitr, which is nicknamed the Sweet Eid for its variety of sweet dishes, Eid al-Adha is often called the Salty Eid because the feast includes mainly savory food.

Popular dishes include Kebab (boneless cooked meat), Haleem (a stew usually made from meat, wheat, and lentils), and Biryani (a spicy meat and rice dish originally from India).

The meal is usually rounded off with a sweet dessert featuring cakes, biscuits, or sweet pastries like Turkish baklava.

Is Eid al-Adha a Public Holiday?

While Eid al-Adha, also spelled Eid ul-Adha, is an important celebration for Muslims, no bank holidays are associated with this particular date in the United Kingdom. However, since the Gregorian date of Muslim holidays changes every year, Eid al-Adha can fall on other UK bank holidays.

Mosques are likely to be busy, leading to some traffic congestion. Some Muslims choose to take one or more days of annual leave at this time.

Who Celebrates Eid al-Adha in the UK?

With over 3 million Muslims living in the United Kingdom, which equals about 5% of the population, Islam constitutes the second largest religion in the country after Christianity.

The largest Muslim community can be found in London. Other places with significant Muslim populations include Bradford, Luton, Blackburn, Birmingham, Manchester, and Dewsbury.

Eid al-Adha in the Islamic Calendar

Eid al-Adha is celebrated on the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah, the twelfth and final month of the Islamic Hijri calendar. Traditionally lasting for four days, the first day of Eid al-Adha falls on the third day of the yearly Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

The next important holiday for Muslims is Islamic New Year (Muharram), which happens about 20 days after Eid.

Muslims use a lunar calendar that differs in length from the Gregorian calendar used worldwide. This means the Gregorian date of Muslim holidays shifts slightly from one year to the next, falling about 11 days earlier each year.

Eid al-Adha Date Depends on Moon Sighting

The timing of Muslim months and holidays generally depends on the sighting of the Moon's crescent following New Moon. Because the Moon's visibility depends on clear skies and several other factors, we cannot predict the exact date of Muslim holidays with certainty.

Also, since the Moon is never visible in all world regions at once and current local dates can vary from one country to another, a holiday may fall on different dates according to a country's longitude and time zone. So, some Muslims may celebrate a holiday one day earlier than others, depending on their country or region of origin.

About Eid al-Adha in Other Countries

Read more about Eid al-Adha.

Eid al-Adha Observances

Note: Regional customs or Moon sightings may cause a variation of the date for Islamic holidays, which begin at sundown the day before the date specified for the holiday. The Islamic calendar is lunar and the days begin at sunset, so there may be one-day error depending on when the Crescent Moon is first seen.

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2018TueAug 21Eid al-AdhaMuslim
2019MonAug 12Eid al-AdhaMuslim
2020FriJul 31Eid al-AdhaMuslim
2021TueJul 20Eid al-AdhaMuslim
2021WedJul 21Eid al-AdhaMuslim
2022SatJul 9Eid al-AdhaMuslim
2022SunJul 10Eid al-AdhaMuslim
2023WedJun 28Eid al-AdhaMuslim
2023ThuJun 29Eid al-AdhaMuslim
2024MonJun 17Eid al-Adha (Tentative Date)Muslim
2025SatJun 7Eid al-Adha (Tentative Date)Muslim
2026WedMay 27Eid al-Adha (Tentative Date)Muslim
2027MonMay 17Eid al-Adha (Tentative Date)Muslim
2028FriMay 5Eid al-Adha (Tentative Date)Muslim

While we diligently research and update our holiday dates, some of the information in the table above may be preliminary. If you find an error, please let us know.