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On Day of Arafat, Kaaba receives elaborate new covering

The Kaaba is adorned with a new Kiswah each year on the 9th day of the Islamic month of Dhu al-Hijjah
Muslim Hajj pilgrims try to touch Kaaba stone as they circumambulate around the Kaaba, Islam's holiest site, located in the center of the Masjid al-Haram (Grand Mosque) in Mecca, Saudi Arabia on 22 August, 2017 [Fırat Yurdakul/Anadolu Agency]
Muslim Hajj pilgrims try to touch Kaaba stone as they circumambulate around the Kaaba, Islam's holiest site, located in the center of the Masjid al-Haram (Grand Mosque) in Mecca, Saudi Arabia on 22 August, 2017 [Fırat Yurdakul/Anadolu Agency]

The holy Kaaba's elaborate covering, known is Arabic as "Kiswah", was ceremonially changed on Thursday – the Day of Arafat, which coincides with the second day of the Hajj pilgrimage.

Early Thursday morning, Saudi media broadcast footage of the changing ritual showing officials from Saudi Arabia's General Presidency for the Holy Mosque replacing last year's Kiswah with a new one.

The ritual takes place every year on the ninth day of the Islamic month of Dhu al-Hijjah, which coincides with the Day of Arafat.

Standing 14 meters tall, the new Kiswah – made from about 700 kilograms of black-dyed silk and around 120 kilograms of gold and silver wire — is said to have cost some 22 million Saudi riyals (roughly $6 million).

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Pilgrims perform the farewell tawaaf, circling the Kabaa, during the Hajj.

The majestic covering is adorned with Quranic phrases and verses, such as "Praise be to Allah, Lord of Worlds".

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The pilgrimage to Makkah is considered the fifth "pillar" of the Islamic faith, one that all Muslims are obliged to perform – if financially feasible – at least once in their lives.

Recent weeks have seen hundreds of thousands of Muslims from around the world converge on Saudi Arabia to perform this year's Hajj pilgrimage.

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