London to celebrate Eid@Square

A man entertains visitors at Trafalgar Square in London

London celebrates end of Ramadan with free 10th anniversary Eid Festival in Trafalgar Square on Saturday 25 July….reports Asian Lite News

A man entertains visitors at Trafalgar Square in London
A man entertains visitors at Trafalgar Square in London

In celebration of the end of Ramadan, the annual Eid Festival takes place in Trafalgar Square on Saturday 25 July. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the free event and thousands of Londoners and visitors to the capital are expected to head to the square, where they will have the opportunity to sample music and food from around the world, alongside a variety of special activities.

Organised by the Mayor of London, with support from Lebara Mobile, Zee TV and the Embassy of the State of Qatar, the Eid Festival is open to people from all communities and faiths, with an array of entertainment and attractions for the whole family to enjoy, including live music and performance, arts and crafts, exhibitions, calligraphy, henna, face painting and more.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: ‘As Muslims around the world break the fast following Ramadan, the Eid Festival brings together people from all communities for a wonderful celebration in the heart of the capital. The 10th anniversary makes it even more special and I urge Londoners and tourists alike to come down to Trafalgar Square to experience the many flavours, colours and culture of Islamic world. Eid Mubarak!’

 The Eid Festival features international food to tickle visitors’ taste buds, with delicious cuisines from around the world, including Turkish, Egyptian, Indonesian, Lebanese and Moroccan. There will also be a bazaar with clothing, jewellery, arts and crafts, books and Halal sweets.

An exclusive highlight will see Shubbak, one of the largest biennial festivals of contemporary Arab culture, take over the stage for an exhilarating concert. Performers include Egypt’s legendary alternative band Massar Egbari, who mix rock, jazz and blues with oriental music and ground-breaking Palestinian collective 47SOUL, who are bringing the energetic beats of dabke, shaabi and electro-Arabic to the capital. Karama, an exciting London-based band led by oud player Soufian Saihi, with musicians from Venezuela, Spain, Japan, Morocco and the UK,will perform a set inspired by gnawa, Arabic classical music and the diverse sounds of the city from Saihi’s London busking days.

For the first time, the Embassy of the State of Qatar will be offering visitors a chance to experience the country’s culture, including a special exhibition about the history of pearl diving, which was one of the ancient trades and oldest professions in the Gulf region during the pre-oil era. In addition visitors will have the exciting opportunity to be photographed with a falcon, Qatar’s national bird. Also on offer will be Qatari cuisine, Arabic coffee and dates, plus calligraphy and opportunities to try on traditional Qatari dress. There will also be competition for visitors to win two tickets to Qatar.

Other highlights include a catwalk show featuring designers from around the world showcasing modern Abayas and traditional and modern outfits. Visitors can test their skills in Arabic art and geometry with The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts, and children will be entertained by story-telling, face-painting and henna tattoos.

There will be a special appearance by writer Hajera Memon, who created the world’s first pop-up and play book telling a story from the Holy Quran. She has written a unique, award winning version of the well-known and loved Surah Al-Feel, Surah Al-Feel, The Story of The Elephant, from Chapter 105 of the Holy Qur’an. There will be a competition to win the special gold edition of the book.

As part of the British Council’s UK-Iran Year of Culture, which is showcasing Iranian culture and heritage, there will be traditional Iranian story-telling and arts and crafts, plus a showcase of literature and art. People attending the Eid festival are also invited to visit ‘The Bridge’, aground-breaking interfaith exhibition of 47 artists from 15 countries at St Martin-in-the-Fields.Each artist has submitted one original work (created specifically for the exhibition) focuses on what they hold in common through their Arab, Persian and Jewish cultures and their Christian, Muslim and Jewish creeds.

Nasheed artists and guests of Zee TV, the Eid Festival’s media partner, are also set to appear. They include popular British Nasheed band, Aashiq Al-Rasul who have been performing for over 15 years and through their music reach to all communities and faith to promote peace, love and hope. Musician and songwriter, Saif Adam is also performing. Originally from Essex, Saif has collaborated with Ed Sheeran and N-Dubz and writes nasheed songs to reach out to the community and spread the message of peace and unity.

In addition there will be London charities and voluntary groups as City Circle and Islamic Relief who will be engaging with the public raising awareness and providing volunteering opportunities London.

The Eid Festival is presented by the Mayor in association with the Eid Committee, a voluntary body made up of representatives from various Muslim community groups and organisations in London. Lebara Mobile is this year’s presenting partner, Zee TV returns for another year as media partner and The Qatar Embassy is supporting partner.

His Excellency Mr. Yousef Ali Al-Khater said: ‘The Qatar Embassy is proud to be participating, for the first time, in the Eid Festivals special 10th Anniversary celebrations. The Eid Festival has been a great opportunity for the Embassy to extend our existing strong relationship with the Mayor of London’s office and United Kingdom.

‘The Embassy is delighted to showcase and share its traditions, culture and heritage with Londoners and tourists at the iconic venue of Trafalgar Square.  Visitors are welcome to join us at our marquee for some complimentary Arabic coffee with dates to experience our Arabic hospitality. There will be an exclusive calligraphy workshop, literature, exhibitions and beautiful traditional Qatari clothing for visitors to try.   In addition there will be a rare opportunity to view the national bird of Qatar, the Falcon, with photo opportunities.  There will be a variety of activities for children and families to enjoy throughout the day.

Event:                   Eid Festival

Location:              Trafalgar Square

Date:                     Saturday 25 July 2015

Time:                     12pm-6pm

Entry:                    FREE