LONDON: A strip of White Oaks Mall in British capital has been converted into a Ramadan bazaar, reminiscent of Muslim markets from Africa or the Middle East, offering authentic cultural wares for the holy month.
The Ramadan market place, which starts at the south entrance of the mall, is host to approximately 25 vendors who have set up shop until Sunday.
“Before Ramadan, we do the Ramadan market at White Oaks Mall to get everyone ready for Ramadan,” said Khanssa El-Sayegh with the Events Co., the group that organizes the bazaar.
“People can come and they do their shopping for Eid gifts or they do their shopping for Ramadan itself from dates to sweets and other things: clothing, decor, you know, items that we don’t usually find in the common stores.”
There are approximately 33,000 to 35,000 Muslims living in London, many of whom will be observing Ramadan. It’s an Islamic holy month where Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset for about 30 days, and this year it starts at the beginning of April.
“At the same time, we want to provide a space for children to see themselves and to connect in the Canadian society, and to feel excited about their holidays,” El-Sayegh added. “And so that’s really why we’re doing this.”
Sahar Zimmo is the co-owner of House of Hijabs, and another vendor at the bazaar. Her company sells colourful Qurans and hijabs in a variety of colours, materials and textures.
“We’re very blessed and fortunate and honoured to be part of the Ramadan market here in White Oak Mall because it helps us with our Muslim identity and it helps us welcome Ramadan,” Zimmo said.
House of Hijabs is a relatively new business, having launched a year ago.
“We started it during Covid, like many people starting their first Instagram or online business,” she said. “And we started it because we felt there was a need for accessible, beautiful and pretty hijabs, accessories, Qurans and accessories,” she said.
“We wanted to bring that to London and make it fun for girls and women to wear hijab as well as to connect with our holy book, the Quran.”
Mervat Latif is another vendor at the market, selling everything from Egyptian decor and art to glassware.
“It’s like you visit Egypt in Ramadan time,” she said of her stall. “And this is a vibe that I have in my store. Like, bring back home here for people. If you don’t have to travel to Egypt, you can come to my store. You feel the vibe. You feel the traditional old stuff.”
Ramadan begins in Canada on the evening of April 1.