Featuring mesmerising multilingual poetry, free online odysseys through Medieval Arabic cuisine, tranquil outdoor picnics and blockbuster live musical shows, MACFEST’s 2024 Ramadan and Eid programme offers a joyously eclectic range of events throughout the coming months, followed by a series of unmissable celebrations for Eid al-Fitr.

daniel newman MACFEST

Beginning at 2pm on Sun 24 Mar, acclaimed author, historian and professor Daniel Newman hosts a free digital exploration of food and identity in Muslim Spain, the Iberian land once known as Al-Andalus. Drawing upon a wealth of knowledge and excerpts from his latest book, ‘The Exile’s Cookbook: Medieval Gastronomic Treasures from al-Andalus and North Africa’, Newman shares his passion for the wonder of Medieval Arabic dishes across a prolonged period of inspirational cultural and culinary innovation, discussing the vibrant diversity of unique cuisine through recipes which shaped the emergence of the medieval world.

Bringing unparalleled expertise and fascinating insights into the journeys and settlements of Moroccan merchants in Manchester during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Dr Khalid Bekkioue leads a free online panel on Sat 6 Apr which unpicks the pivotal exchanges, economic relationships and social dynamics that characterized one of the most remarkable cultural checkpoints in our city’s history. Hosted by Jack Welsh, Head of Programming and Deputy Director of Liverpool Arab Arts Festival, the unmissable digital symposium seeks to broaden our awareness of the interwoven histories which form the bedrock of our modern multicultural society.

The following day, University of Manchester PhD researcher in politics Zarina Ahmad shares gastronomic tales of the Middle East from ten women across the Middle East and North Africa, with an uplifting online discussion broadcast live from Kilmarnock. Inspired by the diverse culinary cultures which define their respective homelands, the free session examines the the meaning of food-related sustainability through the vibrant, innovative recipes which have become beloved household staples around the world.

On Sat 4 May, MACFEST stages another digital event celebrating the written word with a multilingual poetry and Mushaira feast, led by a cohort of esteemed Muslim poets from around the UK and abroad. Featuring a series of captivating recitals in several different languages including Turkish, Farsi and South Asian Dialects, the delightful afternoon stars Birmingham-based poet Ibraheem Iqbal, Turkish wordsmith Leyla Colpan, Hasan from the USA, and Farsi lyricists Shahireh Sharif and Syed Rizvi.

macfest picnic in the park

As spring gives way to the optimistic warmth of early summer, MACFEST partners with the Greater Manchester Walking Festival for a special picnic and stroll in Platt Fields Park from 12pm onwards on Sun 5 May. Billed as the perfect opportunity to unwind in nature and make new friends, the all-inclusive Eid get-together invites visitors to eat together while building cultural bridges and fostering community cohesion in the city.

macfest musical eid at the lowry

At 6pm on Sat 1 Jul, MACFEST rounds off its vibrant Eid celebrations with a dazzling evening of live music at The Lowry, starring the Pakistani Urooj Qawal Group and the Moroccan GNAWA singers, alongside Chief Guest Tariq Wazir, General Consul of the Manchester Pakistan Consulate.

Taking place from 1pm at Longsight Library on Sat 10 Aug, the festival presents a special women-only party to celebrate Eid-al Fitr with a fabulous feast of fashion, poetry, food and entertainment, as well as music from researcher, choreographer and founder of Funoon Dance Magreb, DJ Nawara.

Click here for the full MACFEST events programme, and find out more via the website.

A Manchester Wire Partnership post
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Wolf McFarlane
Published on:
Sun 24 Mar 2024