Sadiq Khan switches on first ever Ramadan lights in London’s West End which will illuminate Piccadilly Circus

30,000 sustainable lights will illuminate Piccadilly Circus for month of Ramadan Ramadan Lights UK rallied to set up the display through public donations 

The Mayor of London has switched on the city’s first ever celebratory Ramadan lights to mark the start of Islam’s holiest month.

The installation of 30,000 sustainable lights, which on this scale are the first in Europe, will illuminate Piccadilly Circus for the month of Ramadan.

The festival is observed by Muslims, including Sadiq Khan, who this year will fast in daylight hours from March 22 to April 21.

The initiative was driven by non-profit organisation Ramadan Lights UK, who rallied to set up the display through public donations.

Its founder, Aisha Desai, said: ‘As a child, a trip into central London to see the festive lights was an annual treat.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan switched on the city's first ever celebratory Ramadan lights yesterday to mark the start of Islam's holiest month

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan switched on the city’s first ever celebratory Ramadan lights yesterday to mark the start of Islam’s holiest month

Installation 30,000 sustainable lights will illuminate Piccadilly Circus for month of Ramadan

Installation 30,000 sustainable lights will illuminate Piccadilly Circus for month of Ramadan

Two women taking a selfie near the installation of Ramadan lights in central London

Two women taking a selfie near the installation of Ramadan lights in central London

‘My sister and I would lie in the back of the car looking at the lights through the sunroof. It was magical.

‘As a proud Muslim, I wanted to bring some of that magic to my community… And three years ago, that journey began with Ramadan Lights.

‘And our generous donors have helped us go from strength to strength.’

The lights read Happy Ramadan, with glittering moons and stars to match.

The curated concept depicts the phases of the moon throughout Ramadan.

Ramadan started across the UK and world last night, with Muslims preparing for their first day of fasting on Thursday.

Ramadan Lights UK rallied to set up the display through public donations

Ramadan Lights UK rallied to set up the display through public donations

The installation of 30,000 sustainable lights are the first of its scale in Europe

The installation of 30,000 sustainable lights are the first of its scale in Europe

The religious festival marks the ninth month in the Islamic lunar calendar and is a time of worship, fasting, prayer, charity, community spirit and spiritual development.

Throughout the month, practising Muslims will be refraining from eating and drinking anything from dawn until sunset.

They will have a pre-fasting breakfast before sunrise (Suhoor) and a post-fasting dinner after sunset (Iftar).

Ramadan’s etymology stems from the Arabic root ‘ar-ramad,’ meaning scorching heat. It is said that the wisdom behind the deeper linguistic meaning of Ramadan is is that it burns sins away.

Muslims believe that in 610 A.D., the angel Gabriel appeared before the Prophet Muhammad while he was meditating in a cave on Mount Hira near Mecca and told him to read. Muhammad responded that he did not know how to read.

Gabriel is said to have repeated the instruction to read twice more, before embracing the Prophet, upon which Muhammad began to recite the first revealed verses of the Qur’an. The Islamic holy book.

That night of revelation became known as Laylat Al Qadar, meaning ‘Night of Power’ and is believed to have occurred during Ramadan. Muslims believe the rest of the Qur’an was revealed over the following 23 years.

Because Ramadan is viewed as a month of spiritual growth in Islam, extra time is expected to be devoted to prayer.

There are five main prayers each day, called Fajr, Dhuhr, Asr, Maghrib and Isha respectively.

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