Thousands of Muslims from Leicester gathered this morning at Victoria Park to celebrate the sacred and colourful festival of Eid.
Eid al-Fitr, literally translated as the ‘festival of breaking the feast’, marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan and is one of the most significant days of the Muslim calendar.
Traditionally marked with communal worship, this morning saw Leicester’s Muslim communities come together to join in prayer and other festivities hailing the end of 30 days of fasting.
The event included entertainment and refreshments as well as a host of free activities including face painting and Henna fairground rides and balloon modelling.
Event organiser, Leicester Imam Dr Salam cited the importance of this day in the Muslim faith. Dr Salam said: “This day is very important. The Muslims meet with each other, they greet each other, they show love to each other and they show love to their community.
“They have time for happiness, time for joy and they also want to live in peace and harmony with other communities.”
In Islamic faith, it is believed that the Prophet Muhammad unveiled the Qur’an to his followers during Ramadan and, in remembrance; Muslims abstain from food and drink from sunrise to sunset throughout this sacred time.
Also a month of self reflection and improvement, Ramadan sees Muslims partake in extensive prayer and regular Mosque visits.
Rather than commemorating a specific historical event, Eid is a spiritual celebration in which Muslims thank Allah for giving them strength and perseverance, particularly during the month long fast that precedes it.
The celebrations warmly welcomed all walks of life from the city of Leicester. Dr Salam added: “Everybody is welcome at the Eid festival irrespective of their background or faith. Although this is a Muslim event, it is always open to anybody.”
The festivities have taken place in Victoria Park for the past few years and were clearly enjoyed by all today. One participant, Abdul, said: “It brings Muslims and non Muslims together and the children have lots of fun.”
Another participant said: “I feel joyous, I feel happy. Everyone’s here together. After 30 days of fasting we’re all here now enjoying this lovely day.”
Festivities in the park will carry on until this afternoon, and Eid itself will continue to be celebrated for a further 24 hours. To all our Muslim readers, Eid Mubarak.
By Jennifer Morris