President Sisi greets people of Egypt on Eid al-Adha occasion
CAIRO, Aug 20, 2018 - President Abdel Fattah El Sisi on Monday greeted the people of Egypt on the occasion of Greater Bairam (Eid al-Adha) which Muslims the world over celebrate today as pilgrims wind up the events of the practice in Mecca and other Hajj locations.
"We thank God for these blessed days," the Egyptian leader wrote on his social media pages, adding: "And we pray to God that we all enjoy safeness, benevolence and blessing." Concluding his message of greetings, President Sisi wished every good to people on the Eid occasion.
In preparation for today's festivities, many government ministries and state bodies had initiated diverse measures to help people enjoy and mark the occasion, the distinguishing features of which are social get-togethers, the exchange of visits between families and friends, the slaughtering of sheep, cooking meat especially mutton and going on picnics, particularly to public parks, beach areas and spacious places.
The Railways Authority set up a special operations room to monitor the movement of trains and passenger transport facilities round the clock throughout the five-day holiday which started on Monday. The authority chairman, Engineer Ashraft Raslan, cancelled all leaves for senior official so that the authority can follow up the seasonal increase in rail traffic and ensure that passengers receive the best service on journeys to and back from their native home places.
Health Minister Dr Hala Zayed on Monday inspected the medical services at some public hospitals in Greater Cairo to ascertain the sufficient availability of medicines and medical supplies that may be needed in such holidaying season. Dr Zayed also made sure that the necessary medical teams and staff are deployed at intensive care units and emergency clinics. On Monday, more than two million Muslims from all corners of the globe gathered at Mount Arafat and in the vicinity for prayers and supplications marking the peaking of the 5-day-long pilgrimage practice. Security forces were seen directing traffic as helicopters and surveillance drones hovered overhead.
Some pilgrims carried umbrellas to protect themselves from the sun as temperatures surpassed 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) after an evening of thunderstorms and high winds. Men and women from 165 countries gathered side by side, while soldiers handed out bottled water and some people snapped selfies, according to a Reuters report on the event.
Saudi Arabia has said more than 2.3 million pilgrims, mostly from outside Saudi Arabia, have arrived for the five-day ritual, a religious duty once in a lifetime for every able-bodied Muslim who can afford the journey.
After spending the day on Mount Arafat, pilgrims moved by sunset on Monday to the rocky plain of Muzdalifa to gather pebbles to throw on Tuesday at stone columns symbolising the devil. The pebble-throwing marks the first day of Eid al-Adha, or the feast of sacrifice.
Later in the day on Monday, a new kiswa, the cloth embroidered with verses from the Qur'an, was placed over the Kaaba in Mecca’s Grand Mosque.
In the midday sermon delivered on Mount Arafat, senior Saudi cleric Sheikh Hussein bin Abdulaziz Al al-Sheikh urged pilgrims to come together with their co-religionists but cautioned: “Hajj is not a place for slogans and parties.”