With COVID restrictions eased, Muslims flocked to mosques and parks across New Jersey on Tuesday to mark Eid al-Adha, a holy day that observes Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son at God’s command.
Unlike last year, some worshippers were maskless and embraced one another as they celebrated with prayer, festivals and family gatherings.
But while the crowds had returned, Eid al-Adhawas still not the same. For the second year, Muslim Americans were unable to join the annual Hajj pilgrimage, in which the faithful across the world travel to Mecca in Saudi Arabia to worship in the Ka’bah, the most sacred site in Islam.
In a typical year, thousands of Americans would join the 2.5 million Muslims who make the annual pilgrimage. But this year, COVID restrictions limited attendance to 60,000 vaccinated Saudi residents, up from just 1,000 in 2020.