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Курбан Байрам

Kurban Bayramy is one of the institutive religious holidays celebrated in Azerbaijan. It originates from the Biblical legend of the arch-father Abraham (Ibrahim in Islam), his wife Hagar and their son Isaac's (Ismail in Islam) being offered for sacrifice. The apologue of Ibrahim and Ismail, emergence of ancient Arabic sanctuaries of Mecca, rituals of peregrination to Mecca and the associated feast of sacrifice got new interpretation in the course of time and were subjected to requirements of Islam. According to it, Allah is willing to these rituals to be performed in Mecca and its environs, and in connection with this the traditional peregrination to Mecca (Haj) has been established. This city had been the destination of peregrination for Arabs and a major religious center of Western Arabia. The resident tribes of Arabia (kureyshits etc.) celebrated their holidays and performed their rites at the sanctuary of Kaaba, they sacrificed to the heathen gods, making human immolations also. Kurban Bayrami, various associated rites, and peregrination to Mecca are the remnants of these primitive beliefs. Before Islam the date of Kurban Bayrami were fixed - it was Zel-hijje month of immovable calendar of ancient Arabs. With Muslim calendar introduced, this holiday came to be celebrated at different days every year.

Sacrifice is instituted by Qur'an. It says: "Pray to your Lord and make a sacrifice". Islam established compulsory sacrifices not only in Mecca but in all the areas inhabited by Muslims. Each family was considered to celebrate this holiday. The rite of sacrifice had its own procedures. The sacrificial animals should have been one-year-aged and sound, without any defects. A camel or cattle was the norm for a family and a ewe or goat for an individual. They dyed the horns and hooves of a sacrificial animal with alcanna and filleted its neck with red band. The sacrificial meat was given to seven families. Poor families unable to make a sacrifice of a big animal could immolate a barnyard fowl. Prohibited by official ethic rules in the Soviet period, now Kurban Bayrami has been recommenced, and celebrated with public festivities and sacrifices.

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