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Eid in the Park celebrations return to Peterborough

After 18 months and three cancelled Eid celebrations, thousands of Muslims in Peterborough are looking forward to finally congregating and celebrating in Central Park this Tuesday (July 20), as local mosques and organisers have been given the go-ahead. 
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Eid in the Park will be held at Central Park Peterborough this year. (Photo from last year by Shariqua Ahmed)

The Islamic community marks the end of the Hajj pilgrimage by celebrating Eid-ul-Adha, when Muslims sacrifice cattle, to pay tribute to and honour the loyalty of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) to Allah (God). 

Each year, for the last 11 years, both the Eid prayers-end of Ramadan and Eid-ul-Adha is prayed at Central Park in Peterborough, where people gather and socialise with their families post-prayers and even share a picnic. This is in accordance with Prophet Muhammed’s practices, where he encouraged Eid prayers in the outdoors. 

But due to the pandemic restrictions, Eid in the Park was not given the green light on the last three occasions.  

The community was hopeful they could mark Eid in the Park during their last Eid celebrated in May, but to their disappointment, that was also called off after it was deemed 'risky' by Public Health England. 

But, they are now celebrating the decision to hold Eid prayers in the park once again. 

One of the organisers of Eid in the Park, Nafis Ahmed said: “This is positive news. We have been running this event since 2011. Peterborough is such a diverse city and Eid in the Park makes it even more special for them, it reflects the city’s diversity and cultures. 

“We haven’t been able to hold this even during the last 18 months, so our community missed out on three Eid celebrations in the park. We followed all the government guidelines.  

“But from next week, restrictions are easing and therefore we are planning this event which will be both safe and enjoyable for the community. 

“The park grounds are quite large so we can practice social distancing. If people want to wear a mask they can. But I would encourage everyone to be responsible and follow relevant guidelines. 

“Because even though restrictions are being lifting the virus is still around so we need to be careful. 

“All along we were cautious. There was an opportunity last Eid in May to have an event but we were advised against it from PCC, so we followed all the rules to keep everyone safe. 

“The community has been through a lot in the last 18 months. But things are easing up. We saw sporting events in the last few days - the Euros, Wimbledon - that were attended by thousands of people and everyone enjoyed it. Shopping has returned to normality almost and people are visiting beaches and other places, so things are looking a bit more relaxed at the minute.  

“We got to live with Covid. But looking at people enjoying the easing, the Muslim community would also like to celebrate Eid together and celebrate it at the park.  

“Peterborough is a tolerant place and this will be a positive step for the city. 

“We have got a lot of positive feedback from people. They have been itching to get back to the park. Eid is a special day for them and we have had three of the celebrations cancelled in the last year or so. So this is good news for them.” 

Some Muslims will celebrate Eid on Tuesday, (July 20), while some will celebrate the next day on Wednesday, July 21. 

The prayer on Tuesday will begin from 9.30am. 

Eid congregation prayers have also been arranged in city mosques for those who prefer to visit them. 

Worshippers have been advised to check the mosque social media for updates.