Why is the Kiswah raised every year ahead of Hajj?

Every Year the Kiswah of the Kabah is raised and a white cloth symbolizing the Ihram is put on the Kabah.

Why the Kiswah is raised each year?

The Kiswah is raised up to 3 meters each year to prevent damage to the cloth due to large crowds which assemble during the Hajj season and it becomes difficult to regulate the crowd during peak hours. It is also raised due to some superstitious beliefs of certain pilgrims who bring scissors and cut parts of the Kiswah expecting some spiritual benefit and because some people write their names or supplications on the Kiswah.

Why is a white cloth put around the Kabah?

A white cloth is put around the Kabah to symbolize the beginning of the Hajj season. In the past the Kiswah was raised in such a way that the white underlying of the cloth was revealed. However in the recent years a separate white cloth is put up.

Why the Kiswah wasn’t raised this year on 15th Dhul Qadah?

The Kiswah raising ceremony takes place every year on or a day before or after 15th Dhul Qadah because after 15th a massive influx of Hujjaj takes place which crowds the Mataaf all day around. This would have made the job of raising the Kiswah difficult if undertaken at a later date.

However this year due to restrictions on the number of Hujjaj and a mere 60,000 expected to take part in the rituals, there would be less crowd in the Mataaf making it easy for the job to be done.
The Kiswah is now expected to be raised on 17st Dhul Qadah.