Hundreds of thousands of Moslem pilgrims celebrated religious rituals in the Saudia Arabian cities of Madina and Mecca on Friday (26 November) during services to mark the period of Dhul Hijja-the time of the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.
GV pan across Madina and SV pans of mosques (3 shots)
GV pan down to people praying (5 shots)
GV faithful praying in streets
GV Mecca pan to thousands circling Ka'bah (4 shots)
SCU people performing Tauaf
SVs people praying in square (6 shots)
GV Tawaf being performed (3 shots)
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Background: Hundreds of thousands of Moslem pilgrims celebrated religious rituals in the Saudia Arabian cities of Madina and Mecca on Friday (26 November) during services to mark the period of Dhul Hijja-the time of the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.
SYNOPSIS: Prayer time in Madina - and the faithful are called to worship at the Mosque of the Prophet.
The faithful responded in hundreds of thousands on Friday. The city's population has been swelled by Moslem pilgrims arriving to begin the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.
Although the main Mosques were quickly filled, this didn't deter the pilgrims, who worshipped in the city's streets.
It has been officially announced that the first day of Dhul Hijja - the period marking the Hajj - was on Tuesday.
Pilgrims are already packing into the holy city of Mecca now that they know their journey will begin on 1 December - the ninth day of Dhul Hijja. Here, thousands worship at the Holy Mosque daily, praying and circling the Ka'bah - to which all Moslems turn towards while praying.
The ritual is called the Tawaf and is necessary before the pilgrims gather on the plains of Arafat before beginning their journey.
This year the Saudi Arabian government has taken every precaution to ensure a safe, successful Hajj.
The entire Hajj area has inspected and declared free of all epidemics.
All water holes and amenities have been checked and pronounced ready for use.
Every measure to protest the pilgrims has been taken. How it's matter of praying and waiting for the day to begin. It's expected that more that 2 million people will take part in the Hajj this year. Pilgrims from all over the world have been arriving in Saudi Arabia in recent weeks and will continues to do so until the day before the trip to Mecca starts.
For moslems the Hajj is considered an obligation as well as a dream.
Many save for years to release their dream.
For them it is the supreme moment - the journey of a lifetime.