An aerial view shows Mecca's Grand Mosque with the Kaaba, Islam's holiest site in the centre on June 17, 2024, during the annual Hajj pilgrimage. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: Muslim pilgrims from across the world will experience the last summer Hajj next year before a 17-year hiatus from the hotter months, marking a significant shift for those participating in the yearly ritual.

The transition, dictated by the Islamic lunar calendar, will see the Hajj moving to cooler spring and winter months, greatly impacting the traditional pilgrimage experience, according to Hussein Al Qahtani, the official spokesman for the National Meteorological Center.

Get exclusive content with Gulf News WhatsApp channel

Al Qahtani said that the significant shift in seasonal timing is due to the Islamic lunar calendar, which causes the Hajj dates to move backward approximately 10 days each year.

This change will provide relief from the extreme heat experienced during the pilgrimage, with this year’s temperatures ranging between 45 to 47 degrees Celsius.

Also read

The upcoming change promises milder weather conditions for one of the largest annual religious gatherings in the world, improving the experience for millions of pilgrims.

During this year’s summer Hajj, there were significant health concerns due to the extreme heat. In just one day, there were 2,764 cases of heat exhaustion and sunstroke reported, largely due to pilgrims not following health and safety instructions.

Mohammed Al Abdulaali, a spokesperson for the Saudi health ministry, told reporters that more than 2,760 pilgrims suffered from sunstroke and heat stress on Sunday alone.

Saudi Arabia recommended organisers to guide and educate pilgrims to adhere to saftey guidelines and protect them from exposure to any heat stress.

Also this year, at least 14 Jordanian pilgrims have died while on the Hajj pilgrimage as temperatures soar in the kingdom.

Jordan’s foreign ministry said “14 Jordanian pilgrims died and 17 others were missing” during the performance of Hajj rituals.

It said its nationals had died “after suffering sun stroke due to the extreme heatwave” and that it had coordinated with Saudi authorities to bury the dead in Saudi Arabia, or transfer them to Jordan.

The Iranian Red Crescent chief, Pir Hossein Kolivand, also said five Iranian pilgrims have lost their lives so far in Mecca and Medina, but did not say how they died.