On Sunday, masses of pilgrims embarked on a symbolic stoning of the devil in Saudi Arabia under the soaring summer heat. The ritual marks the final days of the Hajj, or Islamic pilgrimage, and the start of the Eid al-Adha celebrations for Muslims around the world.

The stoning is among the final rites of the Hajj, which is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. It came a day after more than 1.8 million pilgrims congregated at a sacred hill, known as Mount Arafat, outside the holy city of Mecca, which Muslim pilgrims visit to perform the annual five-day rituals of Hajj.

Meanwhile, fourteen Jordanian pilgrims have died from sunstroke during the Hajj, according to Jordan’s state-run Petra news agency.

The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it has coordinated with Saudi authorities to bury the dead in Saudi Arabia, or transfer them to Jordan.

Mohammed Al-Abdulaali, spokesman for the Saudi Health Ministry, told reporters that more than 2,760 pilgrims suffered from sunstroke and heat stress on Sunday alone.

He added that the number was likely to increase and urged attendees to avoid the sun at peak times and drink water. “Heat stress is the greatest challenge,” he said.

Similarly, an Associated Press reporter saw many pilgrims, especially among the elderly, collapsing on the road to the pillars because of the burning heat. Security forces and medics were deployed to help, carrying those who fainted on gurneys out of the heat to ambulances or field hospitals.

As the temperature spiked by midday, more people required medical help. The heat had reached to 116.6 degrees in Mecca, and 114.8 degrees in Mina, according to Saudi meteorological authorities.

However, despite the suffocating heat, many pilgrims expressed joy at being able to complete their pilgrimage.

“Thank God, (the process) was joyful and good,” said Abdel-Moaty Abu Ghoneima, an Egyptian pilgrim. “No one wants more than this.”

Most countries marked Eid al-Adha on Sunday. Others, like Indonesia, will celebrate it Monday.

Once the Hajj is over, men are expected to shave their heads and remove the shroud-like white garments worn during the pilgrimage, and women to snip a lock of hair in a sign of renewal and rebirth.

All Muslims are required to make the Hajj once in their lives if they are physically and financially able to do so. Many wealthy Muslims make the pilgrimage more than once. The rituals largely commemorate the accounts of Prophet Ibrahim and his son Prophet Ismail, Ismail’s mother Hajar and Prophet Muhammad, according to the Quran, Islam’s holy book.

More than 1.83 million Muslims performed Hajj in 2024, Saudi Hajj and Umrah Minister Tawfiq bin Fawzan al-Rabiah said in a briefing, slightly less than last year’s figures when 1.84 million made the rituals.