MAKKAH: This Saturday, the Kaaba will be decked with its new Kiswa, in one of the most attended rites in the Islamic world.
In a departure from precedent, the General Presidency for the Two Holy Mosques will hold the annual ceremony on the night of Muharram 1, 1444, or Saturday, July 30.
This represents “a departure from a decades-old practice of changing it on the eve of Arafat, as per a recent royal order,” according to the body’s president, Abdulrahman Al-Sudais.
The Kiswa, or covering of the Kaaba, is renewed annually in a centuries-old ritual.
For many decades, the Kiswa was replaced on Dhul Hijjah 9, when pilgrims embark for the plains of Arafat. This was normally while the Haram was empty, allowing for a smooth replacement.
The new Kiswa will remain in place until next year’s Hajj.
The endeavor will be carried out by a team of 200 Saudi technicians working at the King Abdulaziz Complex for Manufacturing the Kaaba’s Kiswa.
The firm weaves, stitches, and prints utilizing 47 pieces of cloth and thread by hand and machinery. The operation is carried out by the world’s largest automated sewing machine, which is 16 meters in length.
The fabric is stitched together in five sections and secured to the base using copper rings.
At the complex, around 670 kg of raw silk are colored black.
The Kiswa is embroidered with 120 kilos of 21-karat gold thread and 100 kilograms of silver thread with Quranic passages.
A new 850-kilogram Kiswa is anticipated to cost SR25 million, or more than $6.5 million, making it the most costly covering in the world.
Source: Arab news