Muslim hajj pilgrims perform ′stoning of the devil′ ceremony | News | DW | 11.08.2019
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Muslim hajj pilgrims perform 'stoning of the devil' ceremony

On the first day of the Muslim Eid al-Adha festival, more than 2 million pilgrims attended the symbolic ritual of stoning the devil near the Saudi holy city of Mecca.

Hundreds of thousands of Muslim pilgrims took part in the annual "stoning of the devil" ceremony on Sunday.

As Eid al-Adha got underway, the pilgrims — each wearing a seamless white garment and carrying pebbles — traveled across Mina Valley, near Mecca in western Saudi Arabia, in scorching temperatures to symbolically "humiliate" the devil.

Large fans sprayed water over the worshipers as they chanted "Allahu Akbar" ("God is greatest" in Arabic) and each threw seven of the little stones at a pillar representing Satan.

Read more: The hajj in Mecca attracts millions Muslim pilgrims to Saudi Arabia

Animal sacrifice

The ceremony is a Muslim tradition which takes place every year on the first day of Eid, following two days of prayer and meditation.

After the stone-throwing ritual, male pilgrims traditionally change out of their robes, shave their heads and slaughter a sacrificial animal — usually a goat, sheep, cow, or camel. Women cut off a lock of their hair. The practices mark spiritual rejuvenation.

The hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam that every Muslim is required to complete at least once in their lifetime if they are healthy enough and have the means to do so.

This year officially drew 2.49 million pilgrims to Islam's holiest sites.

Mina has been the site of deadly stampedes. In 2015, more than 2,300 pilgrims were crushed or suffocated to death.     

Read more: 'Safety errors' to blame for Hajj stampede

kw/jlw (dpa, AFP)

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