Eid celebrations with a touch of melancholy
Khaleej Times looks into what Eid Al Fitr celebrations are like for people who live alone in the UAE.
There are a number of things that come together to make Eid Al Fitr a special day. However, new clothes, sweet desserts, delicious biryani, and the festivities can only be enjoyed only when you are with your near and dear ones. Traditionally, Eid has always been an intimate family affair where the young and old in any given household come together to celebrate.
Yet, there are a few residents of the UAE who are not fortunate enough to celebrate with family members.
For many expatriate bachelors and people living alone, the highlight of Eid is the first telephone call to their loved ones back home. Pakistani taxi driver Nawaz Abbasi, for example, spends Eid Al Fitr transporting people from one part of Sharjah to the other and hasn't celebrated Eid with his wife and children for the last three years.
Abbasi said that he does miss the warmth of celebrating Eid with his family members, who are back home, but according to him "work needs to be done".
He starts his day with morning prayers and calls his family members to wish them. "It's been like this for the last 2-3 years. My favourite part of the day is when I call my family in Peshawar in the morning to wish them. I can hear the excited shouts of my children who are excited about their new clothes and are helping their mother with the celebrations," said Abbasi.
However, according to Abbasi, Eid is one of the busiest days of the year for taxi drivers.
"On Eid, we work till about 1am. I meet a lot of my brothers, other taxi drivers, and we do our prayers and have lunch together."
"I've never felt alone in the city. There are several single people like me. We do miss our loved ones during time of festivities, but we have friends who we share a warm meal and our prayer routines with," Abbasi said. He added: "I don't regret being here. My family has a better life in Pakistan because I work here. I am happy, because they are happy."
Bangladeshi national Umar Farooq (27) has been living in Sharjah for the last two years. He hails from Chittagong and washes cars at a second-hand car showroom for a living. "I clean cars for the showroom. Eid I celebrate with my co-worker and bosses. I begin the day with Eid prayers in the morning and then I call my family in Chittagong to wish them. After this, I have lunch with my few friends. Sometimes, I even wash a few cars on the day of Eid because people like their cars to be clean on Eid," said Farooq. Nadeer Ibrahim, owner of a small cafeteria in Sharjah, left his hometown in India six years ago. He has celebrated every Eid Al Fitr alone since then.
"Celebrating with your family is of course much better. There is nothing like the delicious food that my mother and wife make on the occasion of Eid. I miss them, and the warmth of being at home. Here, I celebrate with my close friends and brothers. We cook a big meal together and see to it that everyone has a good time," said Ibrahim.
It is not only the Muslims who celebrate Eid Al Fitr. Non-Muslim and Sharjah resident Milna Antony said: "I've grown up celebrating Eid. I've lived my entire life here and I am very accustomed to the cultures and ways of the place. Sometimes I visit my friends, the ones who are celebrating, and otherwise we cook biryani and sweet dishes at home and wish our neighbours and family friends."
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