Muslims around the world gathered today to sacrifice livestock in a centuries-old ritual central to one of their most sacred festivals.
Ceremonial killings in slaughterhouses, in parks and even in the streets were seen today as part of Eid al-Adha, one of the holiest days of Islam’s calendar.
From swelling crowds, including children, on the Gaza Strip, through rites in Malaysia, China and Thailand through to Europe, worshippers came together in what is known as a commemoration of Allah’s mercy.
Spectacle: Children and their families are pictured watching a recently-slaughtered cow in Rafah, Gaza, on Eid al-Adha – some with glee, some bemusement and others with trepidation
Up close: A child stands in front of a slaughtered cow in Rafah in Gaza on Eid al-Adha, one of the Islamic calendar’s holiest days
Bleeding out: These children are unperturbed by the slaughter in Allepo, Syria. The festival continued despite the chaos in which the country finds itself
En masse: A butcher is seen hanging up carcasses of animals in a slaughterhouse in Ramallah in the West Bank region of Israel
Bleeding out: The animals are killed in accordance with Halal rules, which involves cutting the animal’s throat. Pictured above are a bull which was killed in Peshawar, Pakistan, (left) and a sheep which was killed in Bangkok, Thailand
The wide-eyed faces of the young – some smiling, some deep in contemplation and some a little scared – bore witness to the ritual killing, in accordance with Halal protocol, which is a fixture of the holiday.
Families are encouraged to choose their best animals for the ritual, which harks back to the days of the Koran’s prophets – namely Ibrahim, who is analogous to Abraham in the Bible.