LONDON: An annual celebration of the Muslim Eid Al-Fitr vacation returned to the UK capital on the weekend after a two-year break resulting from COVID-19 restrictions.
Eid within the Sq., which is hosted by the Mayor of London, is held every year in Trafalgar Sq. to mark the tip of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and attracts 1000’s of contributors, Muslims and non-Muslims alike. This 12 months’s occasion was the seventeenth.
“Many individuals misrepresent the faith of Islam and lots of Muslims are sometimes demonized,” London Mayor Sadiq Khan advised Arab Information. “The wonderful thing about the month of Ramadan is Muslims, like me, present non Muslims what our faith is about — charity, compassion, decency — and Eid is about bringing individuals collectively and celebrating this vital pageant.”
As the specter of the pandemic recedes, Khan mentioned that authorities in London wish to see extra occasions that replicate all religions. Easter and Vaisakhi celebrations have already taken place within the sq. this 12 months, and it’ll host Diwali and Hanukkah occasions within the months forward.
“It’s actually vital for us to understand right here in London, for me, variety is just not a weak spot however a power,” mentioned Khan. “But in addition that we don’t merely tolerate Muslims, we respect them, we embrace them, we rejoice them.
“I’m a agency believer in integration, but in addition understanding and respecting completely different individuals’s spiritual backgrounds, and I feel it’s potential to be a proud Brit, a proud Londoner, any individual who’s proud to be of Pakistani heritage or Asian origin, and a Muslim.”
The primary day of Eid Al-Fitr fell on Monday, Might 2 this 12 months however Eid within the Sq. was held on Saturday, Might 7 in order that extra households and different guests might attend. The occasion included Islamic-inspired reside music, comedy, artwork, poetry and different cultural performances, alongside a feast of meals stalls that includes cuisines from around the globe.
Many individuals wore Eid carnival costumes and different leisure included family-friendly actions similar to calligraphy, storytelling, mehndi (henna physique artwork), face portray, science and drama workshops, and quite a lot of sports activities actions.
Ayham Jaaron, a 42-year-old college lecturer from Palestine, was celebrating Eid within the UK for the primary time and traveled to London for the occasion from Loughborough in Leicestershire along with his spouse and two kids. He mentioned he was proud to be a part of the Muslim group in Britain, a society that promotes values, tolerance and equality.
“I feel this can be a nice alternative for the Muslim group to return collectively and rejoice with different individuals and in addition to benefit from the household ambiance,” he added.
His spouse, Yasmin Abu Alhla Jaaron, a 32-year-old researcher finding out for a doctorate, mentioned she was impressed to see Muslims from quite a lot of cultures and backgrounds all celebrating collectively, and touched that non-Muslims had additionally joined them to share the big day. She added that as a result of she is finding out overseas she is unable to affix her circle of relatives to rejoice Eid however an occasion like this brings all individuals collectively “so it’s identical to one large household. I’m very grateful for this.”
Zia Rahman, 50, a Pakistani Muslim who lately moved to London from Germany, introduced his nine-year-old son to Eid within the Sq.. He mentioned he was not anticipating such a big turnout and big selection of household actions.
“In Germany, I didn’t expertise that; we’re a small Muslim group there,” he added. “However right here, there are lots of people from completely different cultures and in addition with completely different beliefs, so it’s good to see all of them celebrating collectively.”
His son, Ameen, mentioned he was having fun with the occasion and it was the primary time he had skilled something prefer it, although he discovered it unusual to see so many Muslims dwelling in a non-Muslim metropolis.
Mariem Bouchaala, 32, a monetary guide from Tunisia, additionally mentioned she had by no means attended an occasion similar to this earlier than and had not anticipated it to be so crowded. She was accompanied by associates from a number of nations, together with Spain, Columbia and India and mentioned that the ambiance “mirrored the cultural a part of London.”
Forward of the celebrations, and in partnership with Eid within the Sq., for the primary time ever the London Eye statement wheel on the financial institution of the River Thames was illuminated with a crescent moon mild show to rejoice the Eid Al-Fitr vacation.