Around 2.5 million pilgrims took part in a symbolic stoning of the devil on Saturday August 10th, marking the final days of the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, and the start of the Eid al-Adha celebrations for Muslims around the world.
To mark the completion of the Hajj, or pilgrimage, male pilgrims shave their hair, and women trim theirs, to represent a spiritual renewal and rebirth. Male pilgrims will also remove the white terrycloth garments worn on the Hajj, and return to their usual attire.
The five-day Hajj pilgrimage is required of all Muslims once in their lifetime, if they are financially and physically able to make the journey.
Muslims around the world commemorate the end of Hajj with Eid celebrations, including distributing meat to the poor.
"I came from Sudan to Mecca where I performed the pilgrimage," Mohammed Saleh told AP, as he performed the final rites of Hajj in Mina. "We hope all pilgrims will be successful in their Hajj."
Others too expressed a sense of gratitude to have performed the Hajj.
Saudi Arabia said 1.85 million pilgrims, from more than 160 different countries, travelled to the Kingdom for the Hajj this year. Another 634,000 joined from within Saudi Arabia, nearly 70% of them non-Saudi residents of the Kingdom.
The Hajj is one of the largest religious gatherings on earth, and a massive logistical challenge for the Saudi government to oversee each year. The Kingdom provides pilgrims with health care, and buses for transportation, as well as meals, snacks and water, along the routes of Hajj.