The Traditions of Aceh Leading Up to Idul Adha

Idul Adha, also known as the Feast of Sacrifice, is a significant religious festival celebrated by Muslims worldwide. In the province of Aceh, Indonesia, this auspicious occasion is marked by a rich tapestry of cultural traditions and practices. The Tradisi Aceh Menjelang Idul Adha (Acehnese Traditions Leading Up to Idul Adha) reflect the unique heritage and deep-rooted religious devotion of the Acehnese people. This article explores the captivating customs and rituals observed in Aceh in anticipation of Idul Adha.

The Significance of Idul Adha

Before delving into the Tradisi Aceh Menjelang Idul Adha, it is essential to understand the significance of Idul Adha itself. This religious holiday commemorates the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son, Ismail (Ishmael), as an act of obedience to Allah (God). In the Islamic tradition, it signifies submission to the divine will and the importance of selflessness, faith, and sacrifice.

Preparations and Spiritual Reflection

In Aceh, the approach of Idul Adha brings about a sense of anticipation and spiritual reflection. As the holy month of Dhu al-Hijjah, the month of Hajj pilgrimage, begins, Acehnese Muslims engage in intensive prayers, recitation of the Quran, and acts of charity. They strive to strengthen their relationship with Allah and prepare themselves mentally and spiritually for the upcoming festivities.

Procuring the Qurban Animal

A central aspect of the Tradisi Aceh Menjelang Idul Adha is the procurement of the qurban animal, typically a cow, goat, or sheep, that will be sacrificed in commemoration of Prophet Ibrahim’s act of devotion. Acehnese communities make meticulous arrangements to select healthy animals, often seeking advice from religious leaders or experienced individuals to ensure that the chosen animal meets the prescribed criteria for qurban.

The Ritual of Aqiqah

The Tradisi Aceh Menjelang Idul Adha also encompasses the ritual of Aqiqah, which involves the sacrifice of an animal to celebrate the birth of a child or to express gratitude for a blessing received. Families in Aceh may choose to perform Aqiqah in conjunction with Idul Adha, adding an additional layer of significance to the occasion. This ritual reinforces the values of gratitude, compassion, and sharing within the community.

Tarawih Prayers and Night Vigils

Leading up to Idul Adha, Acehnese Muslims partake in special prayers known as Tarawih. These congregational prayers take place in mosques and are performed after the evening prayer during the holy month of Dhu al-Hijjah. The Tarawih prayers allow individuals to engage in communal worship, seek spiritual enlightenment, and seek forgiveness.

In addition to Tarawih, many Acehnese Muslims observe voluntary night vigils known as “tadarus.” During these vigils, individuals gather in mosques or private homes to recite and study the Quran. These sessions provide an opportunity for increased spiritual devotion, reflection, and deepening of one’s understanding of Islamic teachings.

Building Tents for Takbiran

As the days of Dhu al-Hijjah progress, the atmosphere in Aceh becomes increasingly vibrant. One of the fascinating Tradisi Aceh Menjelang Idul Adha is the construction of colorful and elaborate tents called “takbiran.” These tents are adorned with decorative lights, banners, and Islamic calligraphy. They serve as gathering places for communal prayers, Quran recitation, and religious lectures throughout the nights leading up to Idul Adha.

The Night of Takbiran

The Night of Takbiran, which falls on the eve of Idul Adha, holds special significance in Aceh. On this night, communities come together to engage in collective worship, expressing gratitude for the blessings bestowed upon them. Mosques resound with the melodious recitation of takbir (praise of Allah) and the recitation of the Quran, creating an atmosphere of serenity and devotion.

The Day of Idul Adha

On the day of Idul Adha itself, Acehnese Muslims wake up before dawn to perform the special Id prayer, known as Salat al-Eid. The community gathers in mosques or designated open spaces to partake in this joyous congregational prayer. Following the prayer, individuals exchange warm greetings, embracing the spirit of unity, compassion, and forgiveness.

The Act of Qurban and Distribution of Meat

The culmination of the Tradisi Aceh Menjelang Idul Adha is the act of qurban, where the selected animal is sacrificed according to Islamic rituals. The meat from the sacrificed animal is then divided into three parts: one for the individual’s own consumption, one for relatives and friends, and one for those in need, including the less fortunate and marginalized members of the community. This act of sharing emphasizes the values of charity, generosity, and social responsibility.

Community Celebrations and Festive Atmosphere

Beyond the religious and spiritual aspects, Idul Adha in Aceh is also a time for community celebrations and festivities. Families and friends gather to enjoy traditional Acehnese delicacies, exchange gifts, and engage in various recreational activities. The streets come alive with vibrant decorations, cultural performances, and traditional music, showcasing the rich cultural heritage of the region.


The Tradisi Aceh Menjelang Idul Adha epitomizes the essence of faith, gratitude, and community in Aceh. Through a series of rituals, prayers, and acts of sacrifice, the Acehnese people honor the teachings of Islam and express their devotion to Allah. This harmonious fusion of religion, culture, and tradition creates an atmosphere of joy, compassion, and togetherness. The celebrations leading up to Idul Adha in Aceh serve as a reminder of the importance of faith, selflessness, and communal harmony in our lives.