"I convey greetings and best wishes to all fellow citizens, especially my Muslim brothers and sisters," Pranab Mukherjee said, noting that the festival symbolizes sacrifice, faith and devotion.

 

"Let this day imbibe the spirit of universal love, brotherhood, sacrifice and service which constitute eternal values always upheld by our composite culture and work unitedly for peace, progress and prosperity of our nation and the world," he added.

 

In his message, the Vice President said, the festival symbolizes the spirit of supreme sacrifice, promotes peace, love and compassion in the society.

 

"I extend my greetings and good wishes to the citizens of our country on the auspicious occasion of Eid-ul-Zuha. Let us celebrate this festival to strengthen unity and fraternity amongst us," Ansari said.

 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, "Best wishes on Eid-ul-Zuha," Modi tweeted ahead of the Muslim festival. "May this festival strengthens the spirit of harmony and compassion in the society."

 

 

Eid-ul-Azha is celebrated across the nation with Muslims offering special prayers in Eidgahs and mosques and sacrificing animals, even as security arrangement was stepped up ahead of the festival.

 

Markets across the national capital, especially in the walled city in central and north Delhi were decked up and men and women were seen doing last minute shopping before the festival of sacrifice.

 

Eid-ul-Azha commemorates the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to Allah.

 

Ahead of the festival, Jama Masjid and Meena Bazaar since the last two weeks saw negotiations among the buyer and sellers of animal for sacrifice.

 

Goat prices ranged from several thousand to lakhs of rupees in the market depending upon its built, pedigree and physical features.

 

"We had come to buy a goat for Eid. My son is very excited about it. Once we get one of our choice, we will take it home. It would be bathed in morning and decked up with flowers. The animal will be sacrificed after offering namaz," said Abdul Sattar, a software professional who had reached the market with his seven-year-old son.

 

Hundreds of goat sellers from neighboring states like Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan have been camping in these areas since the past two weeks.

 

According to DCP (North) Madhur Verma, under whose jurisdiction some of the major venues like Idgah and Fatehpuri Masjid where lakhs of devotees will offer 'Eid ki namaz', said that security has been beefed up in the area and all arrangements are in place for a peaceful celebrations.

 

Maulana Mufti Mohammed Mukkaram, Shahi Imam of Fatehpuri Masjid said that the namaz will take place at the mosque.

 

The sacrifice of animals such as sheep, goat or camel will be done after prayers and the meat will be distributed among family members, neighbors and the poor.

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