Manchester’s Muslims promised ‘refined affair’ to celebrate Eid festival at Trafford Centre

Manchester’s Muslims will be able to celebrate the holy festival of Eid in a ‘refined’ celebration at the Trafford Centre this weekend.

Eid is a festival that celebrates the end of Ramadan, during which Muslims spend 30 days fasting between dawn and sunset.

Manchester’s population is 5% Muslim – just above the 4.4% national average – and the centre is anticipating a vast turnout for this year’s Eid celebrations, on the weekend of July 25.

“We are known all over the UK for our festive celebrations at Christmas and Chinese New Year, and it makes complete sense to push the boat out for this major Muslim festival too,” said the Trafford Centre’s general manager, Richard Paxton.

In past years, thousands of Muslim families have descended on the Trafford Centre to mark the end of their month’s fasting, and have recently indulged into the custom of buying new clothes to celebrate.

But this will be the first year the centre has officially recognised the Muslim religious holiday.

Mr Paxton says his aim is to create a celebration to reflect the centre’s clientele.

He said: “While some parts of Rusholme will be celebrating with wild street parties, we’re aiming for an altogether more refined affair – which suits our kind of customer.”

Aside from families purchasing celebratory gifts, the shopping and leisure centre is expecting to make a roaring trade through restaurants that serve halal meat.

Its usual array of live bands will have a Bollywood theme, with sitar players, sabla drummers and even a Bollywood harpist.

Mr Paxton said he was ‘proud’ to belong to a community with a Muslim population above the national average.

“We would like to treat our local community to something special,” he said.

“Where better to celebrate a feast day than at the best shopping, dining and leisure centre in the region?”

Image courtesy of Phillip Ingham, with thanks

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