Islamabad-Eid-ul-Azha, the Muslim “Festival of Sacrifice” honours the willingness of the Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his young first-born son Ismail as an act of submission to Allah’s command and his son’s acceptance to being sacrificed, before Allah intervened to provide Abraham with a lamb to sacrifice instead.

Roots International School (RIS) Wellington campus organised a special ceremony so as to celebrate 9th of Zil-Hajj on Friday, the last school day before the Eid-ul-Azha in which all the pupils took part in activities to acquaint them with its religious significance, history, stories and legends, as well as associated traditions and customs.

Under the umbrella of Roots International School Islamic Heritage Society Friday afternoon was dedicated to various acts that promote Islamic culture suited to the ages of the children.

The students of International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (IB-PYP) were asked to build a model of the Ka’aba, the structure housing the sacred Black Stone in Mecca, which is traditionally circled by pilgrims making their haj (Muslim pilgrimage) to the holy city during the Eid. The children learned about this tradition of prayerful circumambulation by circling their model Ka’aba. The children were dressed in simple white garments traditionally donned by the pilgrims.

Of course the foremost symbol of the holiday, the sheep, needed to be honoured as well, and this was achieved in an attempt by the students themselves in which the children were able to make their own model sheep from cotton wool and recycled cardboard, etc.

Children were informed that when, where and how people perform Haj and the celebration of Eid ul Azha. Children prepared Eid cards for their parents. They were also given activity worksheets regarding sacrificial animals.

Overall it was a good and an informative activity through which children learnt about the significance of Hajj and Eid-ul-Azha. Most of the RIS students participated in the event which included speeches about importance and steps of Haj, Tawaf, talbih, Islamic Songs in different languages related to hajj and the etiquette of Eid-ul-Azha.

The students were excited and very happy to attend and celebrate this joyous event which was a masterpiece and a true reflection of the school professionalism and dedication.

Following that it could be seen some of very quiet, pensive children staring at worksheets of all kinds, which was a word puzzle: the students had to discover hidden words that are associated with the holiday, such as sheep, Mecca, Ka’aba, etc.

Last but not least, special classroom session was dedicated for the children in which they sat in small groups with one of the teachers, who told them stories and legends associated with the holiday and ask short quiz questions.

All in all this was a wonderful and informative day for the children, and everyone was enthusiastically taking part in all the different activities. This week, the Muslim children have a school break, since another tradition of the holiday is a big family get-together with lots of good food!

At the Roots International School, we want everyone to participate in, learn to respect, and feel comfortable with each other’s holidays; however the children are well-aware of which holidays pertain to their own culture and religion.