Often when describing Eid to non-Muslims, it’s very easy for people to go straight into… “so it’s the Muslim version of Christmas??”
I can understand why people would think that. Eid celebrations involve getting the family together, having a home cooked meal, treating kids (And big kids) and there’s a real atmosphere of merriment.
But that’s where the similarities end. Eid is one of the biggest celebrations in the Islamic calendar, it’s the moment we celebrate the end of Ramadhan. After a month of fasting from dusk till dawn, a spiritual period where we are expected to look at ourselves and improve our souls… Eid is the gift we are given to celebrate that we’ve made it to the end. We have two Eids in the Islamic calendar – this one is Eid-Al-Fitr, which translates to ‘festival of breaking the fast.’
People often overlook that actually our core values in Islam are about humanity. Always looking for ways to improve our own behaviours, to make sure we pay zakat (a calculated portion of our assets) to those in need and to include and share what we have with others.
Which is why I am always so happy to see businesses take notice and acknowledge our Islamic holidays. You’ll always find some people complaining that they’re simply capitalising on a festival to benefit themselves… blah blah blah… But with something like two million Muslims living in the UK, it’s amazing how long it’s actually taken for us to get to this stage.
Part of Eid traditions is in fact to wear something new. So regardless of whether retailers are trying to make gains on Eid shoppers, we would have been shopping anyway so whats the big deal?? If anything it just means we have some nice offers to enjoy!
Although I like to think of myself as an honorary Mancunian, I am in fact a Yorkshire lass. Born – not quite bred – I’ve spent a lot of time across the Pennines but I have to admit Manchester still wins it for me.
However… when Mo and I went on a bloggers weekend away to Sheffield, we were pleasantly surprised at how much we loved the city and always wanted to return. So on Sunday we were very excited to return, this time to check out a shopping centre that we whizzed past on our way home: Meadowhall.
I’m not going into too much detail about our day (I’ve got a whole other post for that here), as I’ve got a lot to go through! (You can have a quick nosey on my Instagram highlights to see what we got up to) But I did want to point out that this year Meadowhall have planned three days of Eid celebrations, starting tomorrow. Perfectly timed to be honest, as most of us will need to cram our shopping in before hand and spend the weekend seeing to family and friends.
They’ve got some great things happening such as henna artists on hand (so jealous we missed out on that) and random acts of kindness – where they’ve hidden 15 envelopes around the centre with a gift card (I LOVE treasure hunts!)
There are some ginormous shopping centres dotted around the UK and Meadowhall isn’t the biggest one out there but with over 290 retailers, it’s not small by any means. And actually for someone like me who can get quite overwhelmed by shopping, it was just the right size for me to scope what I want without kicking up a fuss and wanting to head home.
Hotel Chocolat have their usual ‘Eid Mubarak’ sleeves which make for fantastic gifts – and a new discovery for Mo and I was the GODIVA Ramadan advent calendar which looked IMMENSE. Definitely buying one of those next year. L’Occitane have plenty of gift options, or if you just want to treat yourself do it! Go test out some hand scrubs or gels and get a mini hand massage in the process ☺️ (if you’ve been fasting all month you deserve it!). Urban Decay have got a plethora of goodies and experts on hand if you need some tips on looking your best this weekend… and lastly my top recommendation for tea lovers is T2 the tea shop where you can find every kind of teapot and herbal tea imaginable! If you’ve got a load of visitors headed your way for Eid and need some new china that is modern with a hint of wow then you need to trot on down to check this place out. We don’t have anything like this in Manchester!
I wasn’t going to go into too much detail but what I will tell you is that this is one of the first occasions where Mo and I have shopped and I actually spent more than him! Which is quite unheard of, not because he’s a big spender but more because I’m incredibly fussy about what I buy.
Not only are they celebrating Eid at the centre, but there are a number of great restaurants that offer halal options – Las Iguanas, Wrapchic, Barburrito, Handmade Burger Co and Pizza Express (of course as always, make sure you tell staff you want halal so they can explain what’s on offer).
Like I said above, I think it’s great that places like this are recognising our Islamic holidays, especially when Islamophobia is such a huge issue. For anyone Yorkshire way looking to get some last minute shopping crammed in, you’ll not be disappointed here.
We certainly weren’t… and I’ve already had to promise Mo we’ll return!
***Mo and I visited Meadowhall as a guest to see what they had planned for Eid. Of course all opinions and thoughts in here are totally my own.***