Later this month, the UK’s first Turkish-owned mosque will be busy turning Britons’ perceptions of mosques on its head. Shacklewell Lane Ramadan Mosque in Dalston, East London, has teamed up with PranaMotion to deliver an interactive multi-faith festival of music, dance, eclectic prayer and storytelling to celebrate diversity and unity.
The Golden Egg Love Fest will run all day on Saturday 22 April (Earth Day) and Sunday 23 April. This co-creative collaboration of musicians, dancers, spoken word artists, and community facilitators from diverse ethnic and faith backgrounds welcomes people from all religious backgrounds and those with none in a spirit of “love”.
The family-friendly festival is a strictly alcohol and drug-free zone, with all food suitable for vegans and vegetarians. Its programme encourages festival-goers to focus on and stimulate their spiritual, physical and mental wellbeing.
Among the special guests and facilitators taking part are Antarma, Sali Musica and the World Re-Evolution, Sivani Mata + Friends, Marina Bulgarelli, Marina Avetisian, Ajay Rajani, Kay Smith, Rachel Rose-Reed, D.O.C.4, Anu Zrael, and Minouba Nombreuse. Between them, they encompass a myriad of spiritual traditions from Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Shamanism, as well as uplifting rhythms from around the world, including Brazil, India, and West Africa.
Shamanic dance so we “stand up, open our wings & shimmer our spirits with the awakening remembrance that we are all related”
To celebrate Earth Day, the festival will also hold a special Saturday night event – the Hummingbird Dreams Cacao Ceremony and Shamanic Dance. Three shamanic practitioners from different lineages – Rafa Semilla (Healing the Land), Mila Ribeiro (Terra Mirim), and Keef Wesolowski-Miles (PranaMotion / Movement Medicine) – have come together to create a rejuvenating experience for your mind, body and soul. It includes live music, chocolate (cacao) and interactive dance so we can, “stand up, open our wings and shimmer our spirits with the awakening remembrance that we are all related”.
Most UK mosques would not normally host such events due to their conservative nature, but Erkin Guney (shown outside the mosque in main picture above), the current chair of the Shacklewell Lane Ramadan Mosque Board of Trustees, takes a more progressive and inclusive approach to Islam that is reflective of his Turkish Cypriot Sufi roots.
Erkin Guney: “By hosting non-Islamic events at the mosque, non-Muslims get the chance to view Islamic culture from a different, more positive perspective”
Under his direction, the mosque has been used for a variety of communal activities to support social and spiritual causes. They include meetings for UK supporters of Black Lives Matter movement and more recently, a yoga event dedicated to showing solidarity with Native Americans at Standing Rock.
Guney told T-VINE: “Islam is a peaceful religion and at its core, it’s inclusive of other religions, cultures and philosophies, as well as non-religious ones. By hosting non-Islamic events at the mosque, we welcome many non-Muslims who get the chance to view Islamic culture from a different, more positive perspective to the one that is constantly being relayed to them by the media.”
“For me, encouraging interaction between different cultures and faiths is essential. It’s a way of contributing to peace among our diverse communities,” he added.
He urges everyone to attend The Golden Egg Love Fest, which will also help to raise vital funds for local and international community projects with a focus on spiritual evolution, environmental consciousness, social justice and education. They include the Shacklewell Lane Ramadan Mosque Repair and Refurbishment Fund and the Afrikaya Nursery School New Yundum in the Gambia.
If you believe in a better world where there are no boundaries and differences between faiths, races, and cultures, The Golden Egg Love Fest is an event you shouldn’t miss! See below for details on where to get your tickets.
Event: The Golden Egg Love Fest
Date: Saturday 22 April and Sunday 23 April 2017
Times: 09.30-20.00 (+special CACAO 20.30-23.00)
Venue: Shacklewell Lane Ramadan Mosque, 9-15 Shacklewell Lane, Dalston, London E8 2DA
Admission: flexi ticket options from day passes at £30 (£20 concs), to the Hummingbird Dreams Ceremony only at £25 (£20 concs), a weekend pass £60 (£40 concs) or weekend Golden Egg ticket (access all activities) for £85. Tickets incur £1.50 booking fee.
More info: including the full programme and list of artists / participants, visit the event’s Facebook page The Golden Egg Love Fest