Rwandair flew 80 Rwandan Muslims going to Hajj, the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
Rwandair flew them to Dubai where they met a connecting flight to Saudi Arabia.
The CEO of Rwandair Yvonne Manzi Makolo was present at the Kigali International Airport to welcome them and wish the pilgrims a safe Hajj.
The Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the holiest city for Muslims, and a mandatory religious duty for Muslims that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by all adult Muslims who are physically and financially capable of undertaking the journey, and can support their family during their absence.
The Hajj is the second largest annual gathering of Muslims in the world, after the Arba’een Pilgrimage in Karbala, Iraq.
The pilgrimage occurs from the 8th to 12th of Dhu al-Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic calendar.
Because the Islamic calendar is lunar and the Islamic year is about eleven days shorter than the Gregorian year, the Gregorian date of Hajj changes from year to year.
During Hajj, pilgrims join processions of hundreds of thousands of people, who simultaneously converge on Mecca for the week of the Hajj, and perform a series of rituals: each person walks counter-clockwise seven times around the Kaaba (the cube-shaped building and the direction of prayer for all Muslims), run back and forth between the hills of Safa and Marwah, drink from the Zamzam Well, go to the plains of Mount Arafat to stand in vigil, spend a night in the plain of Muzdalifa, and perform symbolic stoning of the devil by throwing stones at three pillars. After the sacrifice of their animal, the Pilgrims then are required to shave their head. They then celebrate the three-day global festival of Eid al-Adha.