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Muslims Conclude Mecca Pilgrimage with Feast

Muslims pilgrims walk to perform ritual

Muslims pilgrims walk to perform ritual "stoning of the devil" in Mina, in Saudi Arabia, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2007. Thousands of Muslim pilgrims threw pebbles at stone pillar representing the devil in third day of Hajj carrying out a cleansing ritual at a site just outside the holy city of Mecca that has been the scene of disasters in previous years.(AP Photo/Hasan Sarbakhshian)

MECCA, Saudi Arabia (AP) - Muslims completing the hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia are slaughtering animals today to celebrate Eid al-Adha -- the "Feast of the Sacrifice."

The feast commemorates God's gift of a ram to substitute for Abraham's impending sacrifice of his son and is considered the most
important holiday in the Islamic calendar.

According to Islamic teachings, the pilgrimage to Mecca cleanses the soul from sins. Every able-bodied Muslim who can financially afford it must perform the hajj at least once in his or her life.

Last night, pilgrims threw pebbles at three pillars in a ritual
symbolic stoning of the devil.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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