Click through the photos to see photos from this year's Eid ul-Adha celebrations:

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  • Filipino Muslims walk back to their homes after attending a prayer at the Blue Mosque in Taguig city, east of Manila, Philippines to commemorate an Islamic festival known as Eid al-Adha Friday Oct. 26, 2012. Muslims all over the world commemorate the Eid al-Adha or the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son Ishmael by slaughtering goats and cows as a form of sacrifice and distribute the meat mostly to the poor. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

  • Afghans offer Eid al-Adha prayers outside a mosque in the outskirt of Jalalabad east of Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, Oct. 26, 2012. Eid al-Adha is a religious festival celebrated by Muslims worldwide to commemorate the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

  • Some thousands of Russian Muslims perform Eid al-Adha prayers outside the man mosque in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Oct. 26, 2012. Eid al-Adha is a religious festival celebrated by Muslims worldwide to commemorate the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God. AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel)

  • An Emirati man arrives at Farooq Omar Inb Al Khatab mosque to attend Eid Al-Adha prayers in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Friday Oct. 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

  • Muslim immigrants living in Greece offer Eid al-Adha prayers inside a venue at the Olympic stadium in Athens, Friday, Oct. 26 2012. Eid al-Adha is a religious festival celebrated by Muslims worldwide to commemorate the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God. (AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)

  • Abderramane Dahmane

    A prominent French Muslim, Abderramane Dahmane, second left, hands out chocolate croissants in front of the Mosque in Paris, Friday Oct. 26, 2012. Friday marks the start of Eid al-Adha, or feast of the sacrifice, when Muslims around the world mark the day Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son, according to the Quran. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

  • Iranian worshippers perform their Eid al-Adha prayers at Tehran University campus in Tehran, Iran, Friday, Oct. 26, 2012. Muslims around the world celebrate Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of the Sacrifice, one of biggest Muslim holidays, to commemorate the prophet Abraham's faith in being willing to sacrifice his son. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

  • Muslims offered their prayers during the celebration of the Muslim religious holiday, Eid al-Adha, in the city of Lagos, Nigeria, Friday, Oct. 26, 2012. Thousands of Muslims world wide celebrate Eid al-Adha yearly. Eid al-Adha, is when Muslims slaughter sheep and cattle in remembrance of Abraham's near-sacrifice of his son. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

  • Muslims pray during the Eid al-Adha festivities at an assembly hall of the Payerne protestant church, in Switzerland, on Friday, Oct, 26, 2012. As Muslims living in Payerne do not have their own place of worship, they asked the Payerne protestant church for help, and the church provides the Muslims with an assembly hall for Eid al-Adha. (AP Photo/Keystone/Jean-Christophe Bott)

  • In this Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012 photo, Muslims perform Eid al-Adha prayers in a mosque in Xining, in northwestern China's Qinghai province. Eid al-Adha is a religious festival celebrated by Muslims to commemorate the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God. (AP Photo)

  • Muslim Eid al-Adha Celebration

    Indonesian children wear Muslim outfit as they stand between prayers at a field during Eid al-Adha celebration, Friday morning, Oct. 26, 2012 in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia. Eid al-Adha, the celebration of sacrifice, is the second most important festival in the Muslim calendar, marking the end of the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati)

  • Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, center, attends Eid al-Adha prayers in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Friday, Oct. 26, 2012.(AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

  • Boys lead rams out of the Atlantic Ocean after washing them at first light in preparation for sacrifice, on Eid al-Adha, in Dakar, Senegal, Friday, Oct. 26, 2012. The Eid al-Adha festival, known locally as Tabaski, celebrates Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

  • A Muslim immigrant who lives in Cyprus prays in the Omeriye mosque, known until the 16th century as the medieval Augustinian monastery of St. Marie, during Eid al-Adha celebration in Nicosia, Cyprus, Friday, Oct. 26, 2012Thousands of Muslims world wide celebrate Eid al-Adha yearly. Eid al-Adha, is when Muslims slaughter sheep and cattle in remembrance of Abraham's near-sacrifice of his son. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

  • A Muslim boy feeds a goat ahead of the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha in Hyderabad, India, Friday, Oct. 26, 2012. Eid al-Adha is a religious festival celebrated by Muslims worldwide to commemorate the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.)

  • Muslims from the Layenne brotherhood pariticpate in Eid al-Adha morning prayers at Diamalaye Mausoleum, in the Yoff neighborhood of Dakar, Senegal, Friday, Oct. 26, 2012. The Eid al-Adha festival, known locally as Tabaski, celebrates Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

  • An Indian man eats a meal beside sheep drinking water at a marketplace ahead of the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha in New Delhi, India, Friday, Oct. 26, 2012. Eid al-Adha is a religious festival celebrated by Muslims worldwide to commemorate the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

  • Men and children gathered for prayer on the first day of muslim festival Eid al-Adha at a mosque in Misrata, Libya, Friday, Oct. 26, 2012. Eid is an important 3-days religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide to honour the willingness of the prophet Abraham to sacrifice his young first-born son at God's command some 4000 years ago. (AP Photo/Gaia Anderson)

  • Security guards and police, front, stand watch over the leader of the Layenne brotherhood, not pictured, as Muslim faithful participate in Eid al-Adha morning prayers at Diamalaye Mausoleum, in the Yoff neighborhood of Dakar, Senegal, Friday, Oct. 26, 2012. The Eid al-Adha festival, known locally as Tabaski, celebrates Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

  • A Muslim woman shops at a marketplace on the eve of the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha in New Delhi, India, Friday, Oct. 26, 2012. Eid al-Adha is a religious festival celebrated by Muslims worldwide to commemorate the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God. (AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal)

  • Muslims pray in the street outside the Mosque in Paris, Friday Oct. 26, 2012. Friday marks the start of Eid al-Adha, or feast of the sacrifice, when Muslims around the world mark the day Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son, according to the Quran. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

Eid al-Adha, the Festival of Sacrifice, is observed on Oct. 26, 2012 in the United States. One of two feast festivals celebrated by Muslims, Eid al-Adha falls on the 10th day of the Islamic calendar’s last month, Dhu al-Hijjah.

Eid al-Adha falls within the annual pilgrimage to Mecca known as the Hajj. Determining the exact date of Eid al-Adha, is a point of contention and some wait for an official announcement from the authorities in Mecca.

The festival commemorates Abraham's willingness to follow God's command to sacrifice his son Ishmael and Ishmael's consent to being sacrificed. Today, it is is marked by slaughtering animals to feed the poor. Coming at the end of the Hajj, a journey of dedication and purification, Eid al-Adha is understood as an opportunity for second chances.

According to the Quran, when Ishmael (known as Isma'el in Arabic) was 13, his father, Abraham (Ibrahim), began having inconceivable dreams in which God instructed him to sacrifice Ishmael (Quran Surah 37). Unbelievable as the dreams were, Abraham decided to follow Allah's instructions -- but not before asking Ishmael if he would agree to this. The son did not hesitate, showing ultimate submission to God's will by telling his father to go through with the sacrifice. Then, at the very moment that Abraham raised the knife, Allah tells him to stop -- they had passed the test -- and to replace Ishmael with a sacrificial ram. In the Quran, Abraham is rewarded for his faith with a second son, Isaac.

Muslims observe and prepare for Eid al-Adha in a number of ways. Before the festival, the faithful acquire new clothing and visit with family and friends. At dawn on the day of Eid, Muslims recite the traditional declaration of faith, the Takbir, followed by the pre-sunrise communal prayer, Salat al-Eid, which is also said on Eid al-Fitr. Worshipers then greet friends with the traditional Arabic salutation of Eid Mubarak (“Have a blessed Eid”) and exchange gifts.

In a symbolic act, Muslims who can afford it slaughter a cow, goat, sheep or camel, keeping a portion to feed themselves and distributing the rest to friends, family and the needy. Those who can't afford it, buy meat from a Halal butcher to distribute. Giving out this meat, in addition to the morning prayers, is considered an essential component of Eid al-Adha.

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