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More than two million Muslims begin Hajj pilgrimage

More than two million Muslims have started the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.

The five-day pilgrimage must be performed by all Muslims, who are financially and physically able, at least once in their lives.

On Sunday, pilgrims started gathering in Mina valley, on the outskirts of Mecca, for the start of the Hajj.

In temperatures reaching the 40-degree mark, these people will perform rites in the Mina valley, mount Arafat and in Mecca.

Male pilgrims wear two white unstitched pieces of cloth that cover their body, known as the ‘ihram’, while women wear loose fitted clothing.

Pilgrims are not allowed to cut their hair, wear perfume, or engage in sexual acts. The ritual ends with men completely shaving their heads.

The climax of the Hajj includes the Eid al-Adha festival, which is one of Islam’s two major festivals and involves the sacrifice of an animal, usually a sheep, goat, or cow.

Around 54 million pilgrims have attended the Hajj over the past 25 years, according to official figures.

Almost 14,000 international and domestic flights have so far transported pilgrims with around 21,000 buses also used.

Read more from Source: Al Jazeera

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