Pilgrims stone ‘devil’ in last major Haj ritual; Eid Al-Adha begins

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Updated 06 October 2014
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Pilgrims stone ‘devil’ in last major Haj ritual; Eid Al-Adha begins

MINA: Pilgrims stoned the devil on Saturday in the last major ritual of this year’s Haj in Makkah, and Muslims around the world began celebrating Eid Al-Adha, the feast of sacrifice.
The stoning ritual took place in Mina, about five kilometers east of the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Makkah.
Pilgrims had moved to Mina overnight Friday on foot, motorbikes, and buses from Mount Arafat after the Haj reached its zenith with a day of prayer, as well as tears by pilgrims moved by the sanctity of the spot where Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is believed to have given his final sermon 14 centuries ago.
In the stoning ritual, pilgrims throw pebbles, which they collected at Muzdalifah on the way to Mina, at walls to emulate Prophet Abraham (pbuh), who is said to have stoned the devil at three locations when the devil tried to dissuade him from God’s order to sacrifice his son Ishmael.
In conjunction with the stoning, pilgrims offer sacrifices by slaughtering a sheep, whose meat goes to the needy.
Nowadays, pilgrims do not carry out this rite themselves, but agencies do it for them by distributing the meat to Muslims in many countries.
A total of about 1.5 billion Muslims around the world were celebrating Eid Al-Adha with sacrifices of sheep, goats and other animals.
This year’s Haj attracted just over two million believers including almost 1.4 million from abroad, according to statistics published by the official Saudi Press Agency.
The balance of almost 700,000 came from within the kingdom, both Saudis and expatriates.
These numbers are roughly the same as last year.
The Haj has drawn a cross-section of humanity, everyone from presidents — Sudanese leader Omar Al-Bashir was among them — to commoners including a wounded Syrian rebel war veteran, as well as rich and poor pilgrims alike.
The Haj, which officially ends on Tuesday, is the world’s largest Muslim gathering.
It is one of the five pillars of Islam that every capable Muslim must perform at least once, the high-point of his or her spiritual life.


Sharqiah Season: What to expect this weekend?

Updated 21 March 2019
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Sharqiah Season: What to expect this weekend?

RIYADH: A bumper program of entertainment is being lined up in the Eastern Province for the biggest weekend yet of Sharqiah Season.

Concerts, a film festival, and a spectacular air race are just some of the events due to take place in the region as part of attractions for both Saudis and visitors to the Kingdom.

The action gets underway with the fifth annual Saudi Film Festival taking place from March 21 to 26 at the King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) in Dhahran.

Organized by the Saudi Arabian Society for Culture and Arts (SASCA) in Dammam, in partnership with Ithra, the movie fest will honor Saudi and Gulf cinema figures and include 10 training workshops and 10 seminars.

The festival aims to promote opportunities for Saudi talent in the film industry and flicks from the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman will be included among screenings.

All participating films will be shown during the event, and there will be a Golden Palm award for best documentary about a Saudi city and best poster (based on audience voting). A winners’ presentation will take place at the closing ceremony, after which the films will be screened at the Ithra center.

Tickets can be purchased via Ithra’s website, with options for single-day, four-day, and VIP passes.

Meanwhile, the long-awaited Red Bull Air Race demo comes to Dammam from March 21 to 23. The event, organized along with the General Sports Authority, will provide spectators with a warm-up taster for the Red Bull Air Race World Championship 2019 season finale, to be held in Saudi Arabia in November.

The air-racing competition, developed in 2003 and accredited by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), is billed as “the most advanced aerial challenge in existence.”

Using the fastest, most agile, high-performance race planes, pilots fly just meters from the ground and against the clock to complete an obstacle course full of twists and turns. The air spectacular takes off at Dammam Corniche between 1 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Saturday will also see the highly anticipated Color Run come to the South Alkhobar Corniche. The 5-km dash involves participants being doused with colored powder at the end of every kilometer. Runners start dressed all in white and emerge at the end of the run covered in the colors of the General Entertainment Authority’s logo.

The untimed run takes place between 5 a.m. and noon and rest areas offering refreshments and entertainment will be available between stops.

For concert fans the Asharqiah Music Festival will feature performances by major names at Dammam’s Life Park. US rapper Pitbull and Canadian DJ Deadmau5 will take to the stage on March 21, and March 22 will witness performances by Egyptian vocalist Amr Diab, US-Moroccan rapper French Montana, and American singer Akon.

Lovers of regional music are not left out, with appearances by Assala Nasri and Mutrif Al-Mutrif on March 22, and Nabil Shuail and Hatem Al-Iraqi on March 23, all at the Prince Faisal Bin Fahd Center in Al-Qatif.

Sharqiah Season, the first of 11 Saudi seasons of entertainment planned for 2019, will run until the end of the month with more than 83 different events scheduled across nine cities in the region.