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Cigdem: Ramadan at Palace

Palace for Life Race Equality Lead, Cigdem Turkan, shares what Eid means to her and other Palace for Life staff, whilst highlighting how we at Palace have observed Ramadan.

“As another month of Ramadan concludes, we would like to wish all those celebrating Eid Al-Fitr a happy, healthy and peaceful Eid, from everyone at Palace for Life. We would also like to reflect on the meaning and traditions of Ramadan and Eid.

Each year, following a period of 29-30 days of fasting, reflection and good deeds during Ramadan, Muslims celebrate a 3-day period for Eid.

Did you know? Fast can be broken with something sweet, like a dried fruit (e.g. date), Turkish Delight or a drink like water or milk

Is it Eid yet?

Interestingly, Muslims follow a Lunar calendar, based around moon sightings. Moon sightings confirm the start and end of Ramadan and therefore the start of Eid. In some parts of the world, like Turkey and Northern Cyprus, annually pre-determined moon sightings allow for dates to be confirmed in advance. This means that there can sometimes be a 1-2-day difference between some communities across both Ramadan and Eid.

Did you know? “Eid Mubarak” is the most commonly used greeting for Eid. In Turkey & North Cyprus we say “Bayramınız kutlu/mübarek olsun”

Ramadan is a period that allows families and loved ones to get together for meals and prayers, Eid is also a family occasion, celebrated with vibrant and joyous gatherings with loved ones, including favourite foods and delicious desserts. Gifts and gestures of love and appreciation are exchanged, usually with a particular focus on making the day special for children!

In some communities, there is a tradition of children greeting and kissing the hand of the elderly and adults, as a sign of respect and receiving sweets and money in return.

With the suffering and loss over the last year, Ramadan has been much more difficult but has equally played a significant part in individuals remaining focussed and motivated. In the same way, Eid will no doubt be very difficult for those mourning losses and those suffering from the wider impacts of the pandemic. An obvious difference has been and will continue to be the loss of loved ones, as well as the restrictions on being able to meet up with family and friends during the holy month and Eid.

For Muslims around the world, Ramadan is the epitome of declaring their faith, practising self-discipline and personal development, reflection and charity. Over the past year, these have been significant and common principles across many non-Muslim individuals too.

Did you know? Friday is regarded as the most sacred day in Islam

Football and Faith

Of course, as with any part of individual and community identities, football plays a huge part in many people’s lives. So, it has been amazing to see the appetite to understand, support and celebrate Muslim role models and the month of Ramadan, across football and particularly at Palace for Life and Crystal Palace F.C.

This year the tide feels like it’s changed. There have been so many open and developmental conversations and resulting impact and actions.

During the Leicester City – Crystal Palace fixture, on April 26th, Palace and Leicester staff and players contributed to a historic moment in British football, by agreeing with match officials to facilitate a natural break in the game for fasting players to break their fast and fuel pitchside. This led to official guidance being shared with Premier League match officials, a significant step in ensuring the inclusion and accommodation of various faiths, beliefs and practices.

Off the pitch, as a Palace family, we committed to the following:

  • Crystal Palace F.C. and Palace for Life staff awareness training delivered by Palace for Life Race Equality Lead, Cigdem Turkan in collaboration with the Professional Footballers Association
  • Internal policy and resource development led by Cigdem to support Palace for Life and Crystal Palace F.C. Academy staff and participants, including:
    • Parent/career information
    • Staff guidance and considerations for practice during Ramadan
  • Bespoke Ramadan evening football sessions to enable fasting participants to sustain engagement whilst fasting, led by PFL Asian Inclusion Programme Lead, Hazmi Bahrin

  • Regular internal updates and support to engage and celebrate Muslim role models across the organisation
  • Ramadan tips developed and shared, using the insights and experiences of Crystal Palace F.C.  Head of Medicine, Dr Zaf
  • Empowering discussion between two incredible role models, Dr Zaf and first-team player, Cheikhou Kouyaté

As an organisation, we want everyone to feel welcome in our Palace family and the wider football community. We have taken some great steps in the right direction, but there is still a lot of work that can be done and we are excited to keep pushing in collaboration with key stakeholders.

We asked some of our members of staff how they and their loved ones celebrate Eid:

Jermaine Lutchman: “We go out, buy new clothes, eat!”

Mounir Barka: “Praying Salât al Eid, have breakfast with table full of pastries and traditional Moroccan cookies, kids will wear new clothes, men will put their djellaba and woman will dress with Caftan, then visit my family, kids will generate good amount of money.”

Cigdem Turkan: “Growing up, every Eid was a really special and joyous occasion at our home. I have particularly fond memories of Eid falling in the summer months and us being on holiday visiting grandparents in North Cyprus, spending the day at the beach followed by my Dad’s famous BBQ. Last year, like many other families from all faiths and backgrounds, we spent Eid mourning the loss of a significant family member. This year, as always, our focus for Eid is family, gratitude and charity as well as prayers at our Dad’s place of rest.”

Once again, from our family to yours, we wish everyone celebrating a joyous, healthy and peaceful Eid!”

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