More than two million Muslims are estimated to have started the annual Hajj or pilgrimage to sacred sites of Islam located in the Saudi cities of Mecca and Medina.
Most of the pilgrims concentrated on Mecca, the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad, to begin the rituals corresponding to one of the five commandments of Islam.
The Saudi authorities adopted strict security measures and placed several health and information points to avoid accidents during the five days of the religious process.
Every Muslim in physical and financial conditions is obliged at least once in his life to visit the sacred sites of Islam, two of them in Saudi Arabia and a third in Jerusalem.
For today the day of Taruia is planned, dedicated to pray, read and recite passages of the Koran or to discuss religious issues in Mina, seven kilometers east of Mecca.
It is believed that Abraham or Ibrahim went there to fulfill the divine order to sacrifice his son Ishmael, then revoked by God who gave him a lamb to behead him.
The journey to that place should be made with the ihram, a two-piece white cloth without seams for men and a long tunic of the same color for women that only allows the hands and face to be seen.
According to the religious authorities, the Hajj began this Sunday and will end next Thursday.
On that last day, those who obtained permission will complete seven laps to the Kaaba counterclockwise and begin the Feast of Sacrifice, considered the main Islamic holiday that lasts for four days.
The Kaaba is a cubic building covered with a black cloth, in one of whose vertices is embedded the Black Stone, considered by the Muslims as a piece torn from paradise.
The Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam, together with the Shahada – faith formation -, almsgiving, prayer, and fasting in the Holy Month of Ramadan.