Eid Al Fitr in UAE is 'next level': Residents go all out with celebrations now that Covid is no longer a worry

Families have festivities and reunions planned throughout the holiday, with many driving across the Emirates to be with their loved ones

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Nandini Sircar

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Published: Fri 21 Apr 2023, 6:54 PM

Last updated: Fri 21 Apr 2023, 10:54 PM

UAE streets, malls, and homes bustled to life on Friday as families came together for Eid Al Fitr.

Residents were in high spirits, embracing a sense of normalcy now that the days of subdued festivities due to the Covid-19 pandemic are over.

For the faithful, the day started with prayers the moment the sun rose. Open-air musallahs across the country were packed, with hundreds of people praying shoulder to shoulder.

Soon after, the festivities began. Some residents opted to celebrate at home, while others went for staycations and sumptuous meals at their favourite restaurants — but for everyone, the day was all about family.

Sharjah resident Hozefa A said everyone in her family got up extra early this morning.

"We went to the Sharjah mosque to offer our prayers. Then, like we do every year, We have a food gathering at the mosque, where Sheer-qorma is served as it is especially prepared at this time. Afterward, I joined my family for a staycation in Abu Dhabi," she said.

American expat Shukri Deria, who is originally from Somalia, had to whip up her Eid surprise for her kids at the last minute as she thought the holiday would fall on Saturday.

"I wasn’t prepared. Last night I didn’t wrap the gifts. So, instead, we decided to do a scavenger hunt. I put little sticky notes with clues and then the kids went looking for it," she said.

The rest of their day was packed, the expat added. “My daughter and I went to a salon this morning and it was crazy. So, we decided against doing our hair which was the original plan. Some non-Muslim friends are doing a movie so we will go and join them. Then there is a traditional lunch that we have at our cousin’s place. So, we will go and do that. Later, we may go drive to Dubai where they are having a Somali gathering at a park."

It wouldn't end there, though, as a long list of to-dos are also planned for tomorrow. "We’ve got three different outfits, three celebrations, so it’s fun time," she said.

Deria also went the extra mile by preparing two big trays of chocolates for her children to bring to school on Monday. Not only that, she has also wrapped up boxes of Somali halwa (sweet treats) for her kids' Islamic and Arabic teachers.

'Thank you, UAE'

Malaysian resident Adilatul Salmiah Abdulla is celebrating her last Eid Al Fitr in the UAE as she flying back home for good in July.

“The last eight years in the UAE have been very special for us. Especially, the festival of Eid is grand here. It is truly celebratory during this time of the year. I have spent a lovely time with my family here, particularly during Eid, and created some lovely memories."

"As we are moving back in a few months we are currently staying in a service apartment. I usually organize an ‘open house’ on the first day of Eid. But as I have limited utensils here, I can’t cook the way I used to do at home," Adilatul added.

However, she managed to send some delicious Malaysian-style Eid food to 16 families.

"I had prepared laksa which is a spicy noodle dish popular in my country. I have invitations at six places today for the ‘open house’ and I’ll try and attend as many as I can with my family.”

Eid travel

Senior citizen Anjum Siddiqui and his wife Chaman Siddiqui have come to Dubai especially for Eid Al Fitr. Both of their children are living in the emirate, so they wouldn't let the holiday pass without seeing them here.

“Eid is a great occasion to celebrate and be with your loved ones. However, since both my children are settled in Dubai (my daughter and her family have recently moved here), we decided to come here to observe the festival."

Compared to what they usually have in India, celebrations in Dubai are "next-level", Anjum said.

"Here, we start celebrating right from the early morning prayers when we all, including all the women of the house, go together to offer Eid prayers. I felt so emotional offering the Eid prayers with my son, grandson, daughter, daughter in law and their kids. The feeling of happiness is indescribable. It’s such a blessing to be in this country where we get to celebrate Eid beautifully not only with our family and relatives but people of so many different nationalities.

"It is one of those precious moments I'll always cherish. Eid’s focus is being with family, loved ones and I’m thanking Allah immensely for giving us these prized moments."

A big Eid lunch was prepared for the family — including extended ones — he said.

"I’ll get to meet all my relatives, which is a rare thing considering the busy lives of everyone. Apart from making traditional sweets like Sewaiyan and biryani and kebabs, my daughter has also added a chaat corner to give it an Indian touch. In the evening, my brother will host a grand Eid dinner, too, for all the family. So, me and my wife Chaman are having a really good time.”

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