Posted on March 23, 2023

‘Happy Ramadan’ Lights Up London’s Piccadilly Circus for the First Time Ever

Faiza Saqib, Sky News, March 22, 2023

For the first time ever, London’s Piccadilly Circus has been lit up with Ramadan lights to welcome the Islamic holy month of fasting.

Mayor Sadiq Khan switched on the display to mark the occasion, as many gathered to celebrate the historic moment on Tuesday.

The words “Happy Ramadan” illuminated the streets, with the installation carrying thousands of lights.

The concept has been curated by Ramadan Lights UK, a not-for-profit organisation which aims to spread awareness of the month of fasting.

“This carefully curated concept depicts the phases of the moon throughout the blessed month, bringing the light of Ramadan to the streets of London,” Ramadan Lights UK said in an Instagram post.

The initiative, led by founder Aisha Desai, began three years ago and has since grown.

In 2021, the project launched its first showing in Henley’s Corner on the North Circular and in 2022, the idea made its way to Trafalgar Square.

On the project’s website, Ms Desai said: “As a child, a trip into central London to see the festive lights was an annual treat.

“As a proud Muslim, I wanted to bring some of that magic to my community.

“This year, I am so proud that our lights will line one of London’s most famous streets – Coventry Street, the road that joins Piccadilly Circus to Leicester Square.”

Sadiq Khan said that it was an “honour to switch them on.”

“London is now the first major city in Europe to host a spectacular light display to mark Ramadan. It’s a true symbol of how our capital celebrates our diversity,” the mayor tweeted.

In a social media post, the mayor was pictured enjoying the lights with the project’s founder.

When is Ramadan and what is it?

Ramadan is marked by many Muslims worldwide as people prepare to celebrate the month by fasting from dawn to sunset.

This year, Ramadan is expected to begin on 23 March and end on 21 April – subject to the sighting of the moon.

Muslims fast as it is believed to be one of the five pillars of faith in Islam – these are practices Muslims are advised to follow.

The month focuses on self-restraint, charity, mindfulness and worship.

A spokesperson from the Muslim Council of Britain told Sky News: “Ramadan is a holy month for Muslims across the world; a time for worship, reflection and charity – all with the express purpose of achieving greater God-consciousness.

“Ramadan presents a real opportunity for communities to come together and learn more about Islam and Muslims.”