From Dh5 to iPhones, 24k gold notes: How Eidiya has changed for UAE residents

Some residents explained their concerns about balancing tradition, keeping the spirit of festival and catering to children's changing desires


Waad Barakat

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Published: Mon 8 Apr 2024, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Mon 8 Apr 2024, 10:56 PM

In today's increasingly digitalised world, the age-old tradition of distributing Eidiya among children by elders is being redefined. The days when a mere Dh5 or ten currency notes would suffice children's desires are now a thing of the past. In today's age, Eidiya is undergoing a tech transformation with children expecting digital gift cards, iPhones and even 24K gold notes.

Eidiya, also known as Eidiyya or Eidhi, is a Middle Eastern Arab tradition that involves gifting cash to children and family members by elders in the family, older relatives or family friends. This practice is deeply rooted in celebrating two significant Muslim holidays: Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al Adha.

Iphone for Eidiya

Hamda K, an Emirati in Dubai, shared her experience as she wrestled with her 10-year-old's request for a new iPhone for Eidiya.

"Nowadays, kids are making special requests and asking for expensive gifts like iPhones. We tried to convince him to be reasonable and that Eidiya wasn't about requesting the most expensive gifts. However, we also didn't want to be spoilsport during festival time; after all, Eid is a happy occasion," Hamda told Khaleej Times.

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Hamda voiced her concern about balancing tradition and catering to her child's changing desires, keeping in mind the cultural backdrop that Hamda grew up in and the generational gap between her and her child.

"Back in the days, Eidiya would be Dh5 or 10, and if you got Dh20, you were the richest kid in the neighbourhood. It was all about gathering the Eidiya and going to the mini markets, buying tons of chocolates and calling it the best Eid ever," Hamda fondly recalled.

Eman Elshamsi, an Emirati resident of Abu Dhabi, said, "With my nephews and nieces, I have to set a budget for Eidiya, and nowadays, even adults are asking for one."

She shared her experience witnessing this shift firsthand during the last Eid celebration. She had to withdraw a substantial amount of money, specifically Dh2,000 in Dh100 bills, solely to distribute Eidyia.

Gold notes

Amid the increasing focus on Eidiya and its transformation from a simple tradition, stores are also competing to develop innovative products, such as the gold note.

Gold notes
Gold notes
Rahul Sagar
Rahul Sagar

Dian Jewellery has introduced the first 24K gold note souvenir, making it a valuable Eidiya gift. Each note is priced at Dh159 and contains 0.1 grams of gold, with Dubai skyline and landmarks. "The souvenir has gained significant popularity among tourists and residents, offering a unique and cherished memento," said Rahul Sagar, founder of Dian Jewellery.

Rahul said they have sold out the stock in the last few days. "Hundreds of our customers brought the souvenir to give away as Eidiya's gift. We are taking pre-orders now and have received over 300 requests in the last few hours," said Rahul.

Gift cards

Over the years, Eidiya has evolved from a simple cash gift to a more diverse and creative form of presents.

Dubai resident Madheeha Mohammed said that she preferred to give digital gift cards to the children of her friends and family. "Eid is a time when we all give gifts to each others' children," she said. "Until a few years back, I used to get decorated paper, put perfume on it and put cash along with a little note. The kids used to love it."

However, during Covid, she came up with a new plan- digital gift cards. "I purchased Amazon gift cards for the children," she recalled. "It was really simple. All I had to do was pay and send a message, and the gift card would be e-mailed to them. What surprised me was how much the children enjoyed them. Most of the mothers reported back, saying how the children spent time browsing for something to buy and were excited about it. Some added their own money and bought something they had been eyeing for a while. So now, I stick to those gift cards."


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