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12th month of the Islamic lunar year

Muslim pilgrimage (special journey) to Mecca in Saudi Arabia

The Hajj (also known as Haj or Hadj) is the greater Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, which all able-bodied Muslims who can afford it are expected to make at least once in a lifetime. It is one of the Five Pillars of Islam.

The Hajj takes place from the 8th to the 12th days of the 12th and last month of the Islamic lunar year, which does not coincide with the Gregorian calendar used by the Western world (in fact it falls about 11 days earlier each year in the Gregorian calendar).

The word Hajj comes from the Arabaic al-hajj meaning "the Great Pilgrimage". It may be compared with the Umrah, which is the lesser, non-mandatory pilgrimage to Mecca that Muslims may make at any time of the year.

The Hajj is the largest gathering of Muslim people in the world
Photo: Al Jazeera English

lunar (adjective): relating to the moon
pilgrimage (noun): special journey (usually to some special place)
Mecca (noun): a city in Saudia Arabia, the holiest city of Islam
able-bodied (adjective): fit and healthy; not physically disabled
Five Pillars of Islam (noun): the five duties for all Muslims: expressing the faith; praying; giving money to the poor; fasting during Ramadan; and visiting Mecca during the Hajj
mandatory (adjective): compulsory; not voluntary

Quick Quiz:

The Hajj takes place every year
  1. 11 days before December
  2. from 8 to 12 December
  3. in the 12th Islamic month

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