London celebrates end of Ramadam with Eid festival in Trafalgar Square

23 July 2015

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!' Deputy Mayor of London Roger Evans, who will be speaking at the event, said: ‘The Eid Festival 2015 will be a wonderful event to celebrate the end of Ramadan. The event is for all communities so I encourage people to come down to Trafalgar Square on Saturday and enjoy this great festival. 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. People attending the Eid festival are also invited to visit 'The Bridge', a ground-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 of 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. Mr. Neeraj Dhingra, ZEE Network Europe CEO said: 'ZEE is a proud TV partner of the Eid Festival at Trafalgar Square for many years now and the 10th anniversary of this esteemed event makes this year a special one. The festival continues to grow each year offering a wonderful mix of culture and festivities for the entire South Asian community to come together at. ZEE is a strong ambassador of South Asian culture and we are looking forward to a wonderful day celebrating the end of Ramadan where the whole family can come and enjoy.' Mr Yoganathan Ratheesan, Lebara Chairman and CEO, praised the event and said: 'We are proud to continue our sponsorship of this important cultural event that celebrates the end of a month of fasting and contemplation. We're honoured to work with our partners to deliver this annual festivity with a host of fun activities for people of all ages and nationalities to enjoy. I hope everyone has a wonderful time.' 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. From everyone at the Embassy of the State of Qatar, we wish you and your families Eid Mubarak.' To see the Mayor's YouTube message go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wYEgBcklrM Event: Eid Festival Location: Trafalgar Square Date: Saturday 25 July 2015 Time: 12pm-6pm Entry: FREE Information: www.london.gov.uk/eid MEDIA ATTENDANCE Media wishing to cover the event should email [email protected]. For additional information please call 020 7983 4070. SCHEDULE (Subject to change) 12.00: Opening speeches and prayers 12.10-12.25: Aashiq Al Rasul 12.35 – 1.10: Catwalk Show 1 1.15 – 1.30: Saif Adam 1.55 – 2.30: Masar Eqbari 2.45 – 3.30: 47 Soul 3.45 – 4.15: Karama 4.30 – 5.00: Masar Eqbari 5.00 – 6.00: Catwalk Show 2 Deputy Mayor Roger Evans speaks Finale: Aashiq Al Rasul The Food Festival opens at 12:00 and the following exhibitors will be present: Caterers: Mani Caterers – Turkish kebabs, Turkish delight & baklava pastries Koshari Street – Egyptian vegetarian cuisine Guptas- South Asian cuisine Shocka's Coconut Hub – Fresh Coconut water Hao Chi – Halal Dim Sum and oriental cuisine Nusa Dua – Indonesian Cuisine Oasis – Moroccan/ Algerian cuisine. Makan – Malaysian cuisine Ishbilia with Qatar Embassy – Middle East cuisine with special Eid menu and desserts North Terrace stalls: · Lebara Mobile activity with a competition to win the latest iphone · Darussalam Books – Islamic literature for children and adults · Sweet Lounge – Halal sweets · City Circles – London charity and voluntary group · Turkish Calligraphy – artist offering bespoke calligraphy designs on Turkish style plates · Henna Lounge – variety of henna patterns to choose · Prince's School of Traditional Arts – arabesque art and crafts and drawing for children and families · British Council, 'UK Iran Season of Culture' - Iranian culture, Story-telling and arts & crafts. · 'The story of the Elephant'– Islamic story-telling and competition to win an exclusive copy of the book. · Islamic Pixels - Islamic traditional and contemporary art · Momins – Traditional and modern clothing · Lubna Rafiq – make up demonstrations · Islamic Relief – charity with activities for families · Tesco – Eid food gifts for visitors · Sky activity with face painting All details subject to change. Notes to editors Eid ul-Fitr marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, falling on 17 or 18 July, depending on the sighting of the moon). The Mayor's Eid Festival takes place a week after. Shubbak (meaning 'window' in Arabic) is London's largest biennial festival of contemporary Arab culture. Founded in 2011 by the Mayor of London, Shubbak is now an independent charity (charity number: 1150374). Shubbak connects London audiences and communities with the best of contemporary Arab culture through ambitious festival programmes of premieres and commissions of visual arts, film, music, theatre, dance, literature, architecture and debate. Shubbak works with arts institutions in London and internationally and in 2013 presented over 55 events, spread across 42 venues, attracting an audience of over 50,000 people. This year's festival takes place from 11-26 July with over 60 events taking place across London. MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Members of the press may contact the Community Desk on [email protected] or call 020 7982 4070. GENERAL PUBLIC/NON-MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Call the Public Liaison Unit at the Greater London Authority on 020 7983 4100 DUTY PRESS OFFICER: For out-of-hours media enquiries, please call 020 7983 4000