Eid-ul-Azha will be celebrated across the country on Wednesday with Muslims offering special prayers in Eidgahs and mosques and sacrificing animals.
Markets across the country were all decked up where Muslim men and women were seen doing last minute shopping before the festival of sacrifice.
Eid-ul-Azha commemorates the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to Allah.
President Pranab Mukherjee,Vice President Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh greeted the people,saying it is an occasion to remind ourselves of the path of selfless sacrifice and forgiveness.
“May this festival spread peace and harmony and bring prosperity to all,” Singh said in his message.
The Prime Minister said the festival is an occasion to reaffirm our faith in the unity of humanity and to be charitable towards the disadvantaged and the needy.
The President hoped that the festival will knit the people of India “in a celebration of our composite culture”.
“On the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha,I extend my greetings and good wishes to all fellow citizens and,in particular,to my Muslim brothers and sisters,” Mukherjee said.
The spirit of sacrifice and service is the essence of the festival. It is an occasion to remind ourselves of the path of selfless sacrifice and forgiveness followed by Hazrat Ibrahim and to emulate the same,he said.
“We must derive inspiration from the observance of this day and strive to foster universal brotherhood. On the occasion,let us remind ourselves of the unity of mankind and resolve to strive for communal harmony and peace,” Mukherjee said.
Ansari said the festival celebrates the treasured ideals of compassion,sharing and sacrifice.
“Let us observe this joyous occasion by spreading the message of peace,harmony and goodwill in our midst,” he said.
Celebrating the festival,Muslims will wear new cloths and sacrifice sheep or goat. The meat is then distributed to family members,neighbours and the poor.
On the eve of the festival,Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit conveyed her greetings to all Delhiites terming Eid-ul-Azha as a festival of joy,sacrifice happiness and harmony.
“This festival is being celebrated by the members of all the communities and religions. It represents the composite culture of the capital city,” she said.
Dikshit exhorted all Delhiites to celebrate this festival with tradition of religious harmony and imbibe the spirit of ‘zakat. i.e sharing.
Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC) president Jai Prakash Agarwal also extended his warmest greetings to the people of Delhi particularly Muslim community on the occasion.
He said that Eid is a festival of friendship,brotherhood and piety and people,cutting across caste and creed,wish each other on this occasion and take part in the festivities in a joyous atmosphere.
Agarwal said that “the holy festival of Eid reminds mortals like us of the value of sacrifice,self-control,mutual help and a big-hearted outlook”.