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Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– The holy Eid-ul-Azha, the second largest festival of the Muslims, is being celebrated with solemnity and religious fervour in Bangladesh on Saturday.

The festival began in the morning with offering of Eid prayers by tens of millions of Muslims at mosques and Eidgahs throughout the country.

After the prayers, a special munajat was offered seeking divine blessings for peace, progress and prosperity of the country and welfare of the Muslim Ummah. The prayers were followed by sacrificing of animals in the name of Allah.

The Eid-ul-Azha is celebrated on the 10th of Zilhajj month of the Hizri calendar as Hazrat Ibrahim (AS), on this day, some 4,500 years ago, offered to sacrifice his beloved son Hazrat Ismail (AS) who willingly submitted to the will of his father to please Allah.

But the Almighty in His benign mercy spared Hazrat Ismail (AS) and instead sent a ram to be sacrificed.

To commemorate this historic event, the Muslims all over the world slaughter sacrificial animals and draw inspiration from the unique example of sacrifice to please Allah as shown by two great prophets — Hazrat Ibrahim (AS) and Hazrat Ismail (AS).

President Abdul Hamid, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Leader of the Opposition in Parliament Begum Rawshan Ershad gave separate messages, greeting the Muslims in Bangladesh and all over the world on the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha.

Meanwhile, millions of people left the capital and other major cities to celebrate Eid with their near and dear ones in the countryside.

The main Eid congregation of the country was held in the National Eidgah in the capital Dhaka at 8:00am (local time) on Tuesday under tight security while the biggest one was held at 9:00 am at Sholakia of Kishoreganj district.

President Abdul Hamid offered Eid-ul-Azha prayers at the National Eidgah in the capital. Political leaders, Judges of the Supreme Court, diplomats, high civil and military officials and educationists offered their Eid-ul-Azha prayers on the National Eidgah Maidan.

Senior Pesh Imam of Baitul Mukarram National Mosque Maulana Muhammad Mizanur Rahman led the main Eid congregation at the Eidgah.

Hundreds of people from all walks of life participated in the prayers at the National Eidgah and the Baitul Mukarram National Mosque despite heavy shower that began in Dhaka just before 7:00 am.

Five congregations were arranged at Baitul Mukarram National Mosque.

The first one was held at 7:00, the second one at 8:00 and the third one at 9:00 in the morning. The 4th and the 5th congregations are scheduled for 10 am and 10.45 am.

One Eid congregation was held at the south plaza of the Sangsad Bhaban (National Parliament) at 7.30 am.

Two Eid congregations were held at the Dhaka University central mosque – the first one at 8:00am and the second at 9:00am.

State-run Bangladesh Television and Bangladesh Betar and other TV channels and radio stations are broadcasting special programmes on the Eid-ul-Azha.

Later on the day, improved diets were served to inmates of government hospitals, prisons, orphanages, safe homes and shelter centers.

National flags are hoisted at different government and non-government offices and Bangladesh missions abroad marking the day. City streets were decorated with national flags and festoons inscribed with different messages on Eid-ul-Azha.

Two city corporations – Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) and Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) – have taken necessary steps to clear wastes from the streets immediately after devotees sacrifice animals.

The country’s biggest Eid congregation was held as usual at Sholakia Eidgah in Kishoreganj.

Inspector general of police AKM Shahidul Hoque said adequate security measures have been taken for peaceful and smooth celebration of the holy Eid-ul-Azha.