Manitoba·Photos

Thousands rejoice during annual Eid Al-Adha prayers in Winnipeg

Smiles, hugs and prayer filled the rooms of the RBC Convention Centre as thousands of Muslims came together for Eid Al-Adha.

Eid Al-Adha is known as the festival of sacrifice, and lasts four days

A man bows his head during Eid Al-Adha prayer at the RBC Convention Centre on Sunday. (Justin Fraser/CBC)

Smiles, hugs and prayer filled the rooms of the RBC Convention Centre as thousands of Muslims came together for Eid Al-Adha prayers.

"This is a very important day for us, this is maybe the best day of the year for us,"  said Mohamad Jumaily, the president of the Syrian Assembly of Manitoba.

Eid Al-Adha is the second annual religious holiday for Muslims, with Eid Ul-Fitr coming a few months earlier at the end of Ramadan, which signals the end a month of fasting for Muslims.

A father holds his son during Eid Al-Adha prayers.

Al-Adha represents the start of a four-day long festival of sacrifice, with its roots being traced back to Prophet Abraham and the sacrifices his family made.

It also represents the end of the religious pilgrimage called Hajj, which Muslims make in the holy city of Mecca. Saudi officials estimate 2.5 million Muslims participated in this year's pilgrimage.

A group of men pray together for the Eid Al-Adha prayer. (Justin Fraser/CBC)

Muslims traditionally make a sacrifice of an animal during the day, whether it be a lamb, goat or cow, which they then cook and hand out to less-privileged families.

The religious holiday starts with a morning prayer, which has become part of the tradition for Jumaily's family. He doesn't mince words when it comes to Eid Al-Adha, he waits in anticipation of it every year.

"Every Eid, every year we bring our families, our kids to join with our community and celebrate," he said.

The Imam speaks to a large congregation. (Justin Fraser/CBC)

Idris Elbakri, president of the Manitoba Islamic Association, says the Eid prayers at the RBC Convention Centre keep getting bigger and bigger.

Next week, Elbakri is expecting another big crowd at the Eid Carnival, which is open for everyone to attend. It takes place at the Winnipeg Grand Mosque at 2445 Waverley St.

Muslims pray during the Eid Al-Adha prayer. (Chloé Dioré de Périgny/Radio-Canada)