Every year, millions of Muslims from around the world make the journey to Makkah, Saudi Arabia, for the annual pilgrimage (or Hajj). Dressed in the same simple white clothing to represent human equality, the pilgrims gather to perform rites dating back to the time of Abraham.
Hajj is considered one of the five "pillars" of Islam. Muslims are required to make the pilgrimage once in a lifetime, if they are physically and financially able to make the journey to Mecca.
Dates of the Hajj
Hajj is a gathering of humanity in one place, at one time. There are specified days each year to perform the pilgrimage, during the Islamic month of "Dhul-Hijjah" (the Month of Hajj).
Performing the Hajj
The Hajj has specified schedules and rites which are followed by all pilgrims. If you plan to travel for Hajj, you need to contact an authorized travel agent and familiarize yourself with the pilgrimage rites.
After the completion of Hajj, Muslims around the world observe a special holiday called "Eid al-Adha" (the Festival of Sacrifice).
Watch the Hajj
The diversity and enormity of the crowds of pilgrims in Mecca during the Hajj is something that needs to be seen to be believed. Several broadcasters have filmed documentaries and news reports about the Hajj, interviewing pilgrims and describing the pilgrimage rites.