Celebrating Eid in Leeds

How will you mark the end of Ramadan? Affan Khalid, a BSc Accounting and Finance student at Leeds, shares some tips on how to get involved in the celebrations.

Six people in a line waving sparklers in celebration of Eid.

Eid is a holy festival that is celebrated twice a year by Muslims around the world. It’s a time to reflect on the sacrifice made by the Prophet Ibrahim and marks the end of Ramadan – the holy month where Muslims abstain from eating and drinking from dawn until dusk.

Eid is a day full of happiness, joy and love which is often shared with family. This year, many of us will be celebrating the occasion away from home, and for those in their first year of study, this may be a challenging time.

But remember, you’re not alone. Leeds has an active Muslim community and there are Eid festivities taking place across the city, with many opportunities to take part. Here are some of my top tips for getting involved:

Pre-Eid essentials

Muslim celebrations are often lavish and colourful, with Eid being no exception. Many will choose to dress well in a traditional manner, and you can find plenty of options for clothing in the region.

Consider heading over to Janan in Bradford, where you will find a range of traditional attires perfectly suited to Eid. They’ve got everyone covered with a wide range of Arab, Indian and Pakistani-styled clothing. If you don’t wish to buy in-store, you can also order online from Janan.

A young couple with a child looking at a selection of clothes in a shop.
There are many options for clothes shopping in the region.

You could also complement your dress with some special fragrances. Scent Salim is a good place to find original Arab scents and Oud (sourced from the tropical agar tree) would work perfectly for Eid.

For an extra touch, visit Aladdin’s Cave – a unique jewellery shop in Queens Arcade, Leeds. Jewellery lovers have flocked to this place for over 40 years, and a unique piece from here can add a bit of sparkle to your collection.

While you are at it, don’t forget to pick up the ingredients for Seviyan, which is a traditional dessert made from vermicelli, cardamom, sugar, and milk. It is customary to eat Seviyan before or after the Eid prayer.

Close up study of a bowl of Seviyan, including a topping of nuts and fruit.
Seviyan is a sweet, creamy dish enjoyed during Eid.

You can shop for more Eid essentials from halal specialist stores which are in abundance across Leeds. The biggest of all is CC Continental in Roundhay, but be sure to check out Kashmir on Dewsbury Road, too.

Chand Raat

Chand Raat is the night prior to Eid day when the new moon is first seen. Eid celebrations begin from this initial sighting of the moon and there is something very special in the air.

It is traditional to go out during this time and you’ll see Muslims everywhere cherishing this special sight. I plan to take a walk through Leeds City Centre, and expect to find plenty of people smiling over the blessed evening.

A wide angle panorama of Leeds City Centre at night, detailing high-rise buildings with glowing windows.
Leeds City Centre at night. Credit: Affan Khalid

Eid day

On the day, there are plenty of places that offer Eid prayer in Leeds. The city has more than 20 mosques and one of the most popular is Leeds Grand Mosque, which holds a congregation of up to 1,200 people.

The mosque arranges a small food festival for Eid with cuisines from a variety of Muslim cultures. You’ll be able to meet people through various group activities and have the chance to attend a range of religious talks from Islamic scholars.

Three students walking through Hyde Park, with a view of a mosque behind them.
Makkah Masjid Mosque, Brudenell Road, Leeds – one of more than 20 mosques in the city.

Since these festivals are often organised by the community, don’t forget to take some treats along from Nafees Bakers and Sweets (in Hyde Park, Leeds) to share with others.

Eid evening

It’s time to get ready for some fine dining – but be sure to book ahead!

A personal favourite of mine is Mumtaz in Leeds, which is a posh restaurant offering Indian and Pakistani dishes. From the high-ceilinged space hung with chandeliers to views of the River Aire, Mumtaz has it all. However, if you’d like to try something more authentic then visit either Akbar’s or MyLahore.

After some special food for Eid, it is time to catch up at the Eid party back at Leeds Grand Mosque. Remember that you’re not the only person celebrating Eid away from home, so feel free to pass on a friendly smile and greet Eid Mubarak to everyone you meet.

Think of others

Portrait of the author stood in front of an old building in Leeds City Centre.
Affan Khalid, BSc Accounting and Finance student at Leeds. Credit: Affan Khalid

As the day draws to a close, I hope you’ve had a good time despite being away from home, family or friends.

But don’t forget those who are less fortunate. If you can, consider helping a charity such as Islamic Relief, Islamic Aid or Muslim Global Relief with a small donation for those who might not have had an Eid like yours.

Remember, Eid is a day of happiness, joy, and love. Be sure to share that with everyone.

Eid Mubarak!

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The University of Leeds was founded in 1904, and its origins go back to the nineteenth century with the founding of the Leeds School of Medicine in 1831.

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