This week in the United States more than 3 million people will be celebrating a less publicized holiday: Eid al-Adha.
Eid al-Adha, which translates to festival of sacrifice, is the second and most important of two Islamic holidays. It marks the end of the annual hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, which every able-bodied Muslim is required to make once in their lifetime.
The religious holiday commemorates the story of Prophet Ibrahim, who is known as Abraham in Christianity and Judaism. As a testament of faith, the prophet was willing to sacrifice his only son but was stopped by God, according to Islamic scripture.
On Eid, families get together to eat, exchange gifts and donate meat to the poor.
Is your newsroom prepared with reporting that reflects how those in your community celebrate this holiday? Here are a few story ideas.
Fashion: Eid is a religious and social affair. That means many people celebrate by wearing their best clothes. Consider sending photographers to various celebrations and prayer services to collect photos of all the intricate and decorated attireinto a slideshow.
Food: Everyone loves food. Get a reporter to dig up some traditional Eid recipes from “around the world.” Or, visit Muslim-owned restaurants for a story and a meal.
Agriculture: This is a great one for video and audio, but might need some background. As a tribute to Prophet Ibrahim’s sacrifice, Muslims around the world slaughter an animal and distribute the meat to immediate family, relatives and the poor. Many farms across the United States offer this service in accordance with Islamic doctrine. Note: This only happens on the three days of Eid al-Adha.
Community: Many cities offer big celebrations and night bazaars on or around the holiday. It might take a little digging, but there’s likely an event or two happening near you.
Service: Many Islamic organizations will distribute meat and food to the hungry. Last year in Houston, for example, Muslims served victims of Hurricane Harvey the same week as Eid al-Adha.
Crafts: There are a number of do-it-yourself Eid projects on Instagram and Pinterest.
Traffic: In cities with large Eid prayer services, it might be wise to prepare a traffic report that morning.
Perspective: Find a local who went to hajj and see if they can send you pictures, video and a short reflection on their experience. Or, interview them when they get back.
Work-Life Balance: It can be challenging for someone’s religious holiday to fall on a weekday. How difficult is it to take the day off and what are advocacy groups doing to make it easier?
By Nuran Alteir and Waliya Lari, AAJA Muslim American Task Force Co-Directors
Learn more about the AAJA Muslim American Task force and how you can get involved: https://www.aaja.org/matf_volunteers
Photo by Heather McCall is licensed under CC BY 2.0