In a week’s time, approximately two billion Muslims will be celebrating Eid ul-Fitr – meaning festival of sweets – to mark the end of the fasting month known as Ramadan. Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam and the dawn-to-dusk month-long fast is usually carried out by all able-bodied Muslims. Eid ul-Fitr is one of the two Eids and lasts for three days, with the other being Eid ul-Adha which is celebrated after Hajj (another pillar of Islam). That’s three whole days of great food, gifts, and celebrating with friends and family!
Muslims will usually start the day by attending morning Eid prayers and making a generous donation to charity, otherwise known as Zakat ul-Fitr, before heading out to visit relatives and friends. Expect to be fed generously on your visits from house to house as Eid is when households make extravagant spreads and desserts to share with visitors and neighbours. You’ll also leave with your pockets lined with Eidi (eid gifts).
Whilst celebrating Eid with friends and family at home was and is still the norm, in the last few years there’s been a rise in Eid festivals held across London for the thousands of Muslims who will be celebrating – a lovely and thoughtful option for those who may not be able to visit home. From London’s biggest Eid celebration to a ladies-only Eid party, here are some of the best festivities to celebrate Eid in London.
Eid in the Square, Trafalgar Square
For 18 years, the Mayor of London has hosted an annual Eid in the Square Festival in London to mark the end of Ramadan. This year is no different – the festival is being held in Trafalgar Square and will feature an assortment of activities and entertainment to keep you busy.
Speakers will range from Shelina Janmohamed to Mariah Idrissi and you’ll be able to watch an array of demonstrations including dhol drummers, Indonesian dancers, women’s fencing and Qawwali. And don’t forget about the several delicious street food stalls that will be serving on the day; from OshPaz Uzbek food to Berlin doner kebab to mini Dutch pancakes, you’re bound to find something to enjoy.
Dates: The festival will run from 12-6pm on Saturday 29 April and is free to enter
London Eid Festival, Shepherd’s Bush
The London Eid Festival will be returning for the fourth year in a row – running across three days so that everyone can work it into their diary. You can treat yourself to one of the many food stalls that will be operating that day including Philly cheesesteaks, chicken wings, churros and gourmet burgers, before a bit of shopping at the numerous Eid shopping stalls. There will also be a modest fashion catwalk, Islamic art gallery, henna, beauty classes and a cookery theatre available on the day, plus face-painting for children.
Dates: The festival will run from Saturday 29 April until Monday 1 May and is free to enter Website: londoneid.com