Huge family fun day planned as over 100,000 expected for Birmingham Eid celebrations
Birmingham’s Muslim community is bracing itself for end of Ramadan next week, the 30-day period of fasting which will culminate in global Eid celebrations.
This year, Eid al-Fitr is expected to fall on the evening of Thursday 14 or on the evening of Friday 15 June, depending on the sighting of the crescent moon.
The celebration marks the end of Ramadan, a month-long period of of fasting and abstinence, during which fasts for British Muslims have lasted around 18 hours each day.
During Ramadan, which ends at sunset on the final Thursday, Muslims do not eat, drink, have sex or smoke while the sun is up.
Ramadan is always between 29 and 30 days long. But the date of Ramadan changes year by year because its timing is based on the lunar calendar, which is 11 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar.
After the 4-week period of spiritual reflection, followers of the Muslim faith rejoice; celebrating Eid for between one and three days, with prayer services, feasts, presents and parties with family and friends.
This year, mosques will once again open up for special prayer services on the morning of Eid day. In Birmingham, major mosques including Birmingham Central Mosque in Belgrave Middleway and Ghamkol Shariff Masjid in Golden Hillock Road will have several services in the morning to accommodate the thousands of worshippers expected to attend.
At Birmingham Central Mosque in Highgate, it is tradition to hold five services, one roughly each hour, starting from 7am. Each service is conducted in a different language, reflecting the mosque’s congregation. These are usually in Arabic, English and Urdu.
The Green Lane Masjid will be holding a mass prayer service in Small Heath Park, which gets underway at 9am. The park will be specially prepared with outdoor mats, distribution of water, volunteers and police on hand; and a speaker system in place across the grounds.
As part of the outdoor service, the mosque is also hosting a large family fun fair, which will continue from and around the prayer service into the afternoon.
The ‘Celebrate Eid’ fair will showcase fairground rides, games and stalls, refreshments and an overall party atmosphere.
Organisers said: “Once again, Celebrate Eid would like to bring our community together to worship Allah in one congregation and one location. A number of Masaajid (mosques) and organisations have formed a strong association to provide you with the largest gathering in Birmingham and the largest Muslim event in Europe.”
The event – which last year attracted over 106,000 attendees – is supported by Human Appeal, West Midlands Police, Unity FM, the Stroke Association, Islam for Deaf, several city mosques, and the Birmingham City Council.
Here’s what to expect at the Celebrate Eid event in Small Heath Park:
#1 Prayer service
The main aspect of the Eid service is the special prayer of the day. At Small Heath Park, mosque staff and volunteers are expecting arrivals from 8am, with a start time for the service at 9.30am.
Prayer mats will be provided over a waterproofed floor lining. Prayer seats will be made available for the elderly and less able in both the brothers’ and sisters’ sections. Drinking water will also be provided if needed.
There will only be ONE service, which will consist of an Eid sermon by the resident Imam (commonly Shaykh Ahsan Hanif), followed by the mass congregational prayer itself.
As has become traditional at Eid celebrations in Small Heath Park, A funfair will be in place with amusement park rides and games for all.
These will include traditional mechanical rides, a bungee run, adult and children’s bouncing castles, ‘Sumo’ suits for adults and children, and mini golf.
#3 Sports and Games
If the traditional excitement of funfair rides wasn’t enough, there’ll also be assault courses and laser clay pigeon shooting on hand.
Then there’s ball pool, balloon modelling, and a rodeo set-up, all on top of the bungee run and mini golf.
There will be an Animal Man and an Animal Show, with cute and exotic animals to pet and see within an enclosure at the park.
#5 For Younger Kids
For the younger children, there is a soft play area and toys to enjoy; as well as the balloon modelling and crafts activities.
Although stalls and stands will be limited, there will be plenty of kiosks providing entertainment, food and fun activities and goodies for attendees, to make it a family-friendly fun-filled Eid for all.
Stalls serving food and drink will be present, as well as stands selling clothes, crafts and gifts.
Green Lane Masjid and partners are organising and hosting the Celebrate Eid event, one of the largest Muslim gatherings in Europe. As such, they provide the following tips to ensure its a safe and fun day for all:
- Plan you journey in advance of the day, discussing with family and friends
- Walk to the park if you are able to as it the easiest way to arrive on time, avoid parking and traffic problems, and it is a sunnah (example) of the Prophet Muhammad
- For those who live further away, please be mindful that there is limited parking and heavy traffic expected
- You can save yourself the stress of driving by using the new shuttle bus service being provided by the mosque this year. To find out more, see the map below
- If it rains on the day of Eid then prayers will revert back to local mosque and not outdoors in the park. If this is the case, Green Lane Masjid will have three services indoors, at 7.30am, 8.30am, and 9.30am. Other partner mosques, including Masjid Sunnah, Masjid Noor and Masjid Quba will have individual services too
- Volunteers are welcome at the event! If you would like to give some time towards helping to either steward at the prayer service or assist with the activities, then contact the organisers on [email protected].
For more information, visit the official Celebrate Eid website: www.celebrateeid.co.uk