A celebration of the Islamic festival Eid al-Fitr at a Derry community centre was an opportunity to bring people together, organisers have said.
Eid, as it is more commonly known, is one of the biggest celebrations in the Islamic calendar.
Eid takes place at the end of Ramadan, a month of prayer and fasting.
The events at Pilot’s Row Community Centre on Monday included prayers, a shared meal with friends and family, as well as fun games for young children.
Dr Zahid Balhi, who is from the North West Islamic Association, told BBC Radio Foyle it is a very special occasion for those celebrating in the area and across the globe.
“The month of fasting finished last night (Sunday), and it means the first day after the month of Ramadan is the Eid festival,” he said.
“It is very much a celebration day for everybody in the Muslim world.”
Fasting in Ramadan is considered to be an act of worship, which enables Muslims to feel closer to God and strengthen their spiritual health and self-discipline.
Like the beginning of Ramadan, Eid begins with the first sighting of the new moon.
Dr Zahid Balhi said there is a range of events taking place throughout the day, and said it will be an opportunity for friends and family to come and celebrate together.
“The Muslim community in the city comes from about 10 to 12 different countries so everybody has their own cultures and ways of celebrating.
“There will be lots of different and authentic dishes being cooked in every household so people will be distributing and sharing those between them.
“In the evening there will be a family gathering and a one-dish party where someone from each household will bring a signature dish of their choice and we will all come together and have a fun time.”
Dr Zahid Balhi said it was the first time in two years that many people in their community will all be in the same place together to celebrate Eid al-Fitr due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This celebration is after two years where people have been confined because of Covid.
“We could not actually come together last year or the year before to celebrate the Eid gathering,” he explained.
One of the five pillars of Islam is giving to charity, or Zakat.
At Eid, there is a specific type of charitable giving called Zakat al-Fitr, which can take place at the end of Ramadan.
However, this can also be given out in advance so those in need can also join in the celebration of Eid.
Dr Zahid said the cost of living crisis has affected many families across Northern Ireland and he believed the Eid festival provided a chance to support those who were experiencing difficult times.
“It will be a good opportunity for people to help each other and that is one of the main messages during the month of Ramadan.
“We should help those people who are struggling,” he said.Tags: