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Council and charities join forces to highlight Eid Festival

Published on Wednesday, June 12, 2024

2 minute read

The sun sets over Victoria Park, with a dark tree in the foreground.

THE city council is working with local Muslim charities, Leicester Community Assist (LCA) and Eid Prayer and Festival (EPF) to put on this year’s Eid-al-Adha Prayer & Festival event, which will take place on Victoria Park for the 10th year running.

The event started on the park in 2014, when it was attended by around 2,500 people. This year more than 30,000 people are expected to take part.

Leicester City Council’s festival team has for many years supported two Eid festivals on the park: Eid-ul-Fitr marking the end of Ramadan, and Eid-ul-Adha, marking the pilgrimage season, which follows around two months later. But this year marks the start of a new partnership in a bid to raise awareness of the event and encourage more people from all communities to attend.

Dr Abu Salam from the EPF said: “The two Eid celebrations are the most important in the Islamic calendar. We would like to welcome people from all communities to enjoy the cultural celebrations and enhance the harmony that Leicester enjoys as a multi-cultural city.”

The Islamic calendar follows the 12-month lunar calendar which means the dates of both Eids change each year. This year’s Eid-ul-Adha will take place over two days, starting on Sunday 16 June. The first day will run from 9am to 9pm, and the second from 12pm to 9pm. The date should be known later this week and will be advertised on social media.

The festival will include fairground rides, food, stalls, games, archery and other sporting activities and Islamic vocal music. Entry is free, by donation.

Leicester Community Assist, which is a partner of the EPF, has been involved in the relief of poverty in Leicester and Leicestershire for many years, delivering food supplies to families in need. This year they established a new charity – the Eid Prayer and Festival – specifically to raise funds for the celebration events.

Dr Abu Salam said: “These events are funded by the community, and we strongly believe they should remain non-profitable, community events, funded by the donations of the public, and we welcome any support to help us maintain this.”

Graham Callister, head of festivals,events and cultural policy at the city council said: “The Eid prayers event on Victoria Park has been part of the city’s festival calendar for many years but is perhaps not as well-known as other events in the city.

“We are very pleased to be working with the charities to raise the profile of the event, and to encourage people to join in with the cultural and family activities on the park.”

On both Eids, many Muslims will go to special prayers at their local mosque and have a day of celebrations with family and friends.

Eid ul-Fitr - which means 'festival of the breaking of the fast - is celebrated at the end of Ramadan, a month when many adult Muslims fast.

Eid al-Adha - which means 'feast of the sacrifice' - is celebrated just over two months after Eid ul-Fitr. It coincides with the end of Hajj - the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia and is generally considered the holier of the two festivals.