Eid Al Fitr holiday in UAE: 5 ways the Islamic festival is celebrated

The most likely dates of the long break this year are from Thursday, April 20, to Sunday, April 23

By Ruqayya Alqaydi

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Published: Mon 17 Apr 2023, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Mon 17 Apr 2023, 10:44 PM

As the holy month of Ramadan comes to an end, Muslims in the UAE are eagerly preparing to celebrate Eid Al Fitr. The celebrations reflect the importance of Islam in the lives of Emiratis and residents, and the significant role these festivals play in strengthening family and community relationships. The festivities are characterised by joy, happiness, and a sense of togetherness as Muslims break their fasts and come together to celebrate the end of Ramadan.

As per astronomical calculations, Ramadan will last for 29 days this year. The most likely dates of the Eid Al Fitr break are from Thursday, April 20, to Sunday, April 23.

Here is how the festival is marked in the UAE:

Eid Al Fitr prayer

On the day of Eid, UAE residents gather early in the morning to perform the Eid prayer, a recommended tradition that involves taking a bath, wearing new clothes, and preferably having dates or similar foods, before heading to the mosque for prayers.

The Eid Al Fitr prayer is a confirmed sunnah (recommended practice) and its timing is after the sun has risen, although this can be delayed to allow people to pay their zakat. The prayer is performed in an open congregation area, and it is also permissible to perform it in mosques.

Eid breakfast

One of the highlights of Eid Al Fitr in the UAE is the festive meals that Emirati families prepare and share. Traditional Emirati dishes such as "Harees," "Khabeesa," "Balaleet," dates, and coffee are served in abundance, adding to the festive spirit. Families gather around, savouring the delicious food, and enjoying each other's company, reinforcing the bonds of kinship and community that this month brings.

Emirati Umm Aisha emphasises the importance of preparing some traditional meals in advance for Eid, as they require significant time to be ready on the festive morning. "We make sure to have our heritage dishes on the table, with each family taking charge of preparing one of the meals," she said.

Eidiyah

After returning from the mosque, everyone exchanges greetings and visits their families and friends to extend their well-wishes for Eid. Children are particularly excited as they receive "Eidiyah" or Eid gifts in the form of money or presents from their elders, a common tradition during Eid celebrations.

According to Abu Saif, Eidiyah is still cherished today, and even adults may receive it. "Eidiyah (Eid money) is an old tradition passed down by our fathers and grandfathers to bring joy to the hearts of children. Eidiyah is an important aspect of Eid that we still cherish today, and even adults may receive their share of it."

As Eid approaches, many banks across the country take the initiative to provide different denominations of currency through their ATMs. People eagerly rush to find the new denominations to offer as Eidiyah, and currency exchange might not be found as they seek to obtain it before Eid.

Dressing up

Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

In the UAE, preparations for Eid Al Fitr begin days or even weeks in advance, with men and women going to markets to buy new clothes. It is common for Emirati women to wear the traditional "Mukhawara" dress on Eid, and applying henna on their hands is also a popular tradition.

Among the many people eagerly preparing for the occasion is resident Mona Al-Jalaf. She expresses her excitement about buying new clothes for Eid, but reveals her proactive approach to avoid the last-minute shopping rush. "I always try to prepare for this occasion early to avoid the crowds in the markets just a few days before Eid." says Mona Al-Jalaf. Her strategy reflects the common practice of planning ahead to ensure a smooth and enjoyable Eid shopping experience, as shared by many individuals during this season.

Men, on the other hand, go to tailors to get new clothes stitched, often wearing the traditional "Kandoura" and "Ghutra". Home decorations are also part of the preparations, with families tidying up their homes and preparing special meals for Eid breakfast.

Zakat Al Fitr

In addition to the festivities, Zakat Al Fitr, also known as Sadaqat Al Fitr, is a compulsory act of charity performed by Muslims at the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. It is a form of purifying oneself and giving back to the community.

Muslims are required to give a specific amount of Zakat Al Fitr, typically in the form of staple food items, to those in need before the day of Eid Al Fitr.

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