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Kaaba’s lower part kiswa raised in traditional ritual ahead of Hajj pilgrimage

The lower part of the Kaaba’s kiswa – the black cloth that covers the holy site – has been raised in a traditional ritual ahead of the annual Hajj pilgrimage.

The Kaaba, at the centre of the Grand Mosque in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, is draped in the cloth, which is changed annually during Hajj.

It is made from silk with verses from the Quran – there is always an excerpt on Hajj – stitched in gold thread.

“As approved by the General Authority for the Care of the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, the exposed part was covered with a white cotton fabric, 2.5 metres wide and 54 metres long on all four sides,” local media said quoting officials.

The complete changing of the kiswa occurs on the Day of Arafah, the ninth day of the Islamic month of Dhu Al Hijjah. It is a key day in the Hajj pilgrimage when Muslims head to the plains of Arafat and spend the day in prayer.

Last year, nearly 1.8 million Muslims from around the world performed the Hajj, marking a return to pre-Covid numbers. Authorities are expanding the capacity to more than two million pilgrims this year.

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