Yom Arafat falls on the ninth of Dhu Al-Hijja, when people on the Hajj are assembled for the "standing" at the plain of Arafat (in Mina near Makkah) during the Haj. Muslims around the world gather at the local mosque (masjid) for prayer in spiritual solidarity with those at Arafat.
Eid Al-Adha ("The Feast of the Sacrifice") commemorates Abraham's willingness and obedience to sacrifice his son Ishmael to God (and God's mercy in substituting a lamb for Ishmael). This feast is part of the Haj, and takes place on the tenth of Dhu Al-Hijja of the Islamic calendar. For those on the Hajj and for many others the day begins with the sacrifice of an animal in commemoration of the Angel Gabriel's substitution of a lamb as Abraliam's sacrificial obligation. One-third of the meat is given to the poor, with the remainder shared with neighbors and family members.
This holiday is then celebrated in much the same way as Eid Al-Fitr - with good food, gifts for children and general merrymaking.
Islamic New Year
The First of Muharram marks the new year. The date fluctuates (in the Gregorian calendar) from year to year as it is based on the Islamic lunar calendar.
Ashura is celebrated on the ninth and tenth month of Muharram. The word ashura means "ten" and is a time of fasting, reflection and meditation. Jews of the city of Medina fasted on the tenth day in remembrance of their salvation from the Pharaoh, and the Prophet Muhammad pledged he would fast for two days instead of one in this same remembrance, but he died the following year and so never fasted as he had hoped.
For many Muslims there is joy in commemorating all of the wonderful events traditions say occurred on this day, including: Noah's ark came to rest, the Prophet Abraham was born, the Kaaba was built. Among Shiite Muslims, it is a day of special sorrow commemorating the martyrdom of the Prophet's grandson Hussain and his followers at the battle of Kerbala in Islam's first century. It is commemorated in Shiite communities with reenactment of these events and is a time of mourning.