Open air celebrations break new ground

Barclays The Pantiles

The local Islamic community celebrated Eid-al-Adha, or the ‘Feast of the Sacrifice’ in Calverley Grounds on Monday.

Hundreds of Muslims from Tunbridge Wells and surrounding towns attended the event, which saw group prayers and preaching from the Imams.

The event honours the sacrifice of the Prophet Ibrahim, who proved his devotion when he was willing to sacrifice his son after instructions from God.

This is the first year that local celebrations have been held in an outdoor public space, although borough Cllr Zulhash Uddin, who helped organise the gathering, is keen to turn it into an annual event:

“We are really excited that we are able to do this in the Calverley Grounds. We are particularly grateful to the council and the Friends of Calverley Grounds for helping us put on the event at such short notice.”

In between prayers, Cllr Uddin addressed the audience, emphasising the importance of taking time out to reflect:

“We are so busy in this country that we often don’t find the time to all come together like this. I think it is crucial to take time out of work, wherever possible, to take time to reflect and be truly grateful for what we have.”

What is Eid-al-Adha?

It’s the holiday to celebrate the end of ‘Hajj’ which is the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca. The date falls according to the Lunar Cycle when the New Moon is first seen in relation to the Islamic calendar. Sometimes different mosques and regions celebrate slightly varied days. However, this year all Muslims celebrated on the one day as ruled by Arabia’s Supreme Cour.

Muslims around the world sacrifice cows, goats, lambs, sheep and camels, as they honour the Prophet’s tradition, although sacrifice in the UK can only take place in a licensed slaughterhouse. The meat is distributed, one third for family, another for friends and another for the poor.

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