Covid-19 in UAE: Eid Al Adha marked with prayers, hope amid new normal

Supplied photo
Supplied photo

Abu Dhabi - Despite stricter Covid-19 rules in the Capital, celebrations remained meaningful.


Ashwani Kumar


Suneeti Ahuja Kohli

Published: Tue 20 Jul 2021, 8:30 PM

Last updated: Wed 21 Jul 2021, 6:16 AM

Across the country, the joy and spirit of Eid Al Adha prevailed even as residents celebrated with new-normal restrictions in place. It was a day of prayer, love and sacrifice that bound families and friends.

The festival is traditionally marked with mass prayer at mosques and large get-togethers. However, under the current circumstances, elders and children under the age of 12 weren’t allowed to attend public prayers, and all gatherings were restricted.

Despite stricter Covid-19 rules in the Capital, celebrations remained meaningful.

Mussafah resident Sameer Yemmay prayed at his home with family and thanked the Almighty for his ‘second life’.

“I suffered a major heart attack on May 12, the last day of Ramadan. It was my first one but a serious attack as I was almost gone. Doctors brought me back to life. I am recovering well from the surgery. This Eid, I thank Allah for his blessings.”

Ibrahim Elshamy, another resident, welcomed the new health and safety measures implemented for Eid. “Our family didn’t go to the mosque. But such measures haven’t dented our celebrations. I bought new clothes for kids, offered a sacrifice and had a feast.”

Later in the day, streets, malls and shopping centres began to buzz with activities. Restaurants and cafes were occupied to the maximum capacity cap of 50 per cent.

“We had ‘Biryani Sadhya’ (feast) just like Kerala’s Onam sadhya. We had more than 550 guests and order for 220 parcels, which is not bad. It’s a mix of families, friends and bachelors. We are taking all precautionary measures and customers are also acting responsibly,” said Anil Simon of Calicut Notebook Restaurant in the city.

Corniche continued to be the favourite hangout place for residents. “We’ll have a quiet evening at the Corniche with the family, catching Yas Island fireworks on the social media channel, and a ride back home enjoying the view of streets bathed in decorative lights,” said Anna Louis, a long-time resident.

Residents in Dubai, Sharjah, and the Northern Emirates have spent their Eid Al Adha by attending morning prayers, tucking into traditional feasts, and greeting their loved ones using video calling services.

“The joy of Eid is in waiting and getting ready for it...For over two decades in the UAE, Eid time has always been spent with family and friends. But since last year, it has strictly been a close-knit affair considering the Covid safety protocols,” said Dr Wasim Ahmad Malik, professor of Islamic Studies at Emirates Aviation University in Dubai.

For Dubai resident Shaheen I, the day is all about gratitude. “Eid is about spending time with my two children, my extended family. This year, we are celebrating it over a lavish lunch at home.”

Another expatriate, Razia Khatoon, said: “This year is so unusual for me and family. We have always celebrated Eid Al Adha in India at my father’s home where families of my four brothers and sister congregate every year at this time. However, this year, that fun element is missing but we are grateful to the almighty for good health and wellbeing of all,” she said.

Thamjid Mohamad Sidhik, who was born and raised in the UAE, has also been trying to get used to the new-normal Eid celebrations. “We have a huge family of relatives here, about 150. Every year, we would gather at someone’s place or book a hall for the gathering. We would be served lunch and tea and have programmes, sing songs, and have games for kids. But with corona restrictions in place, we are now at our respective homes sharing meal with the immediate family only.”

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