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Hajj

The Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the holiest city for Muslims. It is a mandatory religious duty for Muslims that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by all adult Muslims who are physically and financially capable of undertaking the journey, can support their family during their absence; the literal meaning of the word Hajj is "heading to a place for the sake of visiting". In Islamic terminology, Hajj is a pilgrimage made to Kaaba, the "House of Allah", in the sacred city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia; the rites of Hajj are performed over five or six days, beginning on the eighth and ending on the thirteenth day of Dhu al-Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic calendar. It is one of the five pillars of Islam, alongside Shahadah, Salat and Sawm; the state of being physically and financially capable of performing the Hajj is called istita'ah, a Muslim who fulfills this condition is called a mustati. The Hajj is a demonstration of the solidarity of the Muslim people, their submission to God.

The word Hajj means "to attend a journey", which connotes both the outward act of a journey and the inward act of intentions. The pilgrimage occurs from the last month of the Islamic calendar; because the Islamic calendar is lunar and the Islamic year is about eleven days shorter than the Gregorian year, the Gregorian date of Hajj changes from year to year. Ihram is the name given to the special spiritual state in which pilgrims wear two white sheets of seamless cloth and abstain from certain actions; the Hajj is associated with the life of Islamic prophet Muhammad from the 7th century AD, but the ritual of pilgrimage to Mecca is considered by Muslims to stretch back thousands of years to the time of Abraham. During Hajj, pilgrims join processions of millions of people, who converge on Mecca for the week of the Hajj, perform a series of rituals: each person walks counter-clockwise seven times around the Kaaba, trots back and forth between the hills of Safa and Marwah seven times drinks from the Zamzam Well, goes to the plains of Mount Arafat to stand in vigil, spends a night in the plain of Muzdalifa, performs symbolic stoning of the devil by throwing stones at three pillars.

After the sacrifice of their animal, the Pilgrims are required to shave their head. They celebrate the three-day global festival of Eid al-Adha. Muslims may undertake an Umrah, or "lesser pilgrimage" to Mecca at other times of the year, but this is not a substitute for the Hajj and Muslims are still obligated to perform the Hajj at some other point in their lifetime if they have the means to do so. In 2017, the number of pilgrims coming from outside the Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj was reported as 1,752,014 and 600,108 Saudi Arabian residents bringing the total number of pilgrims to 2,352,122; the word in Arabic: حج‎ similar to the Hebrew: חג‎ ḥag, which means "holiday", from the triliteral Semitic root ח-ג-ג. The meaning of the verb is "to circle, to go around". Judaism uses circumambulation in the Hakafot ritual during Hoshanah Rabbah at the end of the Festival of Sukkot and on Simchat Torah. From this custom, the root was borrowed for the familiar meaning of holiday and festivity. In the Temple, every festival would bring a sacrificial feast.

In Islam, the person who commits the Hajj to Mecca has to circle around the Kaaba and to offer sacrifices. The present pattern of Hajj was established by Muhammad. However, according to the Quran, elements of Hajj trace back to the time of Abraham. According to Islamic tradition, Abraham was ordered by God to leave his wife Hajar and his son Ishmael alone in the desert of ancient Mecca. In search of water, Hajara ran seven times between the two hills of Safa and Marwah but found none. Returning in despair to Ishmael, she saw the baby scratching the ground with his leg and a water fountain sprang forth underneath his foot. Abraham was commanded to build the Kaaba and to invite people to perform pilgrimage there; the Quran refers to these incidents in verses 2:124–127 and 22:27–30. It is said that the archangel Gabriel brought the Black Stone from Heaven to be attached to the Kaaba. In pre-Islamic Arabia, a time known as jahiliyyah, the Kaaba became surrounded by pagan idols. In 630 AD, Muhammad led his followers from Medina to Mecca, cleansed the Kaaba by destroying all the pagan idols, consecrated the building to Allah.

In 632 AD, Muhammad performed his only and last pilgrimage with a large number of followers, instructed them on the rites of Hajj. It was from this point. During the medieval times, pilgrims would gather in big cities of Syria and Iraq to go to Mecca in groups and caravans comprising tens of thousands of pilgrims under state patronage. Hajj caravans with the advent of the Mamluk Sultanate and its successor, the Ottoman Empire, were escorted by a military force accompanied by physicians under the command of an amir al-hajj; this was done in order to protect the caravan from Bedouin robbers or natural hazards, to ensure that the pilgrims were supplied with the necessary provisions. Muslim travelers like Ibn Jubayr and Ibn Battuta have recorded detailed accounts of Hajj-travels of medieval time; the caravans followed. "pilgrimage road", which followed anci

Speed skating at the 1948 Winter Olympics

At the 1948 Winter Olympics, four speed skating events were contested. Twelve speed skaters competed in all four events. A total of 68 speed skaters from 15 nations competed at the St. Moritz Games: Austria Belgium Canada Czechoslovakia Denmark Finland Great Britain Hungary Italy Netherlands Norway South Korea Sweden Switzerland United States International Olympic Committee results database "Results of the 1948 Olympic Games Men". SpeedSkatingStats.com. Retrieved 7 September 2012

2017 Tour de Yorkshire

The 2017 Tour de Yorkshire was a three-day cycling stage race staged in Yorkshire over 28–30 April 2017. It was the third edition of the Tour de Yorkshire, organised by Welcome to Yorkshire and the Amaury Sport Organisation; the race was won by Team Dimension Data rider Serge Pauwels of Belgium, after a strong performance from his team on the hilly final stage. After Pauwels had pulled out a gap, Fraile attacked and joined up with his team captain, setting up a tandem victory salute at the finish at Fox Valley in Stocksbridge, Sheffield. Pauwels won the race by six seconds over Fraile, while Direct Énergie's Jonathan Hivert completed the podium, one second further behind Fraile; the race's other classifications were won by Caleb Ewan, Pieter Weening, Team Dimension Data. On 25 October 2016, the start and finish locations for the event were released: these were Bridlington, Tadcaster, Harrogate and Sheffield; the stage routes were released on 2 December 2016. The routes were Bridlington to Tadcaster to Harrogate and Bradford to Sheffield.

The women's race was to be held on Saturday 29 April, over the Tadcaster to Harrogate route. 18 teams were selected to take part in Tour de Yorkshire. Seven of these were UCI WorldTeams, with five UCI Professional Continental teams, five UCI Continental teams and a Great Britain national team. Teams could enter between eight riders. 28 April 2017 — Bridlington to Scarborough, 174 km 29 April 2017 — Tadcaster to Harrogate, 122.5 km 30 April 2017 — Bradford to Sheffield, 194.5 km In the 2017 Tour de Yorkshire, four different jerseys were awarded. The general classification was calculated by adding each cyclist's finishing times on each stage. Time bonuses were awarded to the first three finishers on all stages: the stage winner won a ten-second bonus, with six and four seconds for the second and third riders respectively. Bonus seconds were awarded to the first three riders at intermediate sprints; the leader of the general classification received a light yellow jersey. This classification was considered the most important of the 2017 Tour de Yorkshire, the winner of the classification was considered the winner of the race.

The second classification was the points classification. Riders were awarded points for finishing in the top ten in a stage. Unlike in the points classification in the Tour de France, the winners of all stages were awarded the same number of points. Points were won in intermediate sprints; the leader of the points classification was awarded a green jersey. There was a mountains classification, for which points were awarded for reaching the top of a climb before other riders; each climb was categorised the same, with four points awarded to the first rider over the top of each climb. Two points were awarded with one point for third place; the leadership of the mountains classification was marked by a pink jersey. Another jersey was awarded at the end of each stage; this was a combativity prize and was awarded to the rider who "made the greatest effort and demonstrated the best qualities in terms of sportsmanship". A jury selected a list of riders to be eligible for the prize; the rider was awarded a grey jersey.

There was a classification for teams, in which the times of the best three cyclists in a team on each stage were added together. Official website