The annual hajj pilgrimage is one of the world’s largest gatherings, as some two million people flock to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, to participate in one of Islam’s five pillars of faith.
The pilgrimage falls between Sept. 9-14, though Muslims from around the world typically begin arriving in Mecca in the days and weeks leading up to the official start date.
It’s considered an obligation for observant Muslims to undertake the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their lifetime if they are physically and financially able.
During the pilgrimage, Muslims from all over the world gather together for five days to pray as one community and celebrate the history of their faith. From the Masjid Al Haram, or Grand Mosque, complex to the hills of Mina, the rites include circling the Kaaba seven times and visiting sites of historical and religious importance.
The holiday of Eid al-Adha takes place several days into hajj and commemorates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael in obedience of God.
Scroll down for a peek at what goes on during hajj and how pilgrims perform the sacred rites: