The ancient or early name for the site of Mecca is Bakkah. The pilgrimage to Mecca attracts millions of Muslims from all over the world. There are two pilgrimages: the Hajj, and the Umrah.
The Hajj, the 'greater' pilgrimage is performed annually. Once a year, the Hajj, the greater pilgrimage, takes place in Mecca and nearby sites. During the Hajj, several million people of varying nationalities worship in unison. Every adult, healthy, sane Muslim who has the financial and physical capacity to travel to Mecca and can make arrangements for the care of his/her dependents during the trip, must perform the Hajj once in a lifetime.
Umrah, the lesser pilgrimage, is not obligatory, but is recommended in the Qur'an. Often, they perform the Umrah, the lesser pilgrimage, while visiting the Masjid al-Haram.
On 2 July 1990, a pilgrimage to Mecca ended in tragedy when the ventilation system failed in a crowded pedestrian tunnel and 1,426 people were either suffocated or trampled to death.
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