YouTube Offers Virtual Pilgrims Live Stream of Hajj in Mecca
Yesterday marked the beginning of Eid El Adha, (or the Feast of the Sacrifice,) the four-day Islamic festival commemorating the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his soon Ishmael in obedience to God. During Eid El Adha, all 1.5 billion Muslims are exhorted to make a pilgrimage, or "Hajj", to the Saudi Arabian city of Mecca at least once in their lives, in a show of solidarity of faith. At least if they are able-bodied and can afford it.
Although it is no religious replacement for actually being at Mecca, YouTube is being used to allow those Muslims who cannot make the journey to enjoy the sights and sounds of the Hajj.
Those that participate in the Hajj are required to partake in a variety of traditions including shaving their heads, sacrificing an animal, running between the hills of Al-Safa and Al-Marwah, drink fresh water from the Well of Zamzam, stand quietly before Mount Ararat, and walk counter-clockwise seven times around the Kaaba.
The Kaaba is a cube-shaped structure that is considered to be the religious center of Islam — the locale to which all religious muslims face when praying. In honor of the events surrounding the annual Hajj, the live stream is being provided by the Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information's YouTube Channel.