Malls and parks favourite for revellers

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Malls and parks favourite for revellers
Magicians entertain visitors during the first day of Eid at Dubai Festival City. - Photo by Neeraj Murali.

Dubai - UAE residents talk about their favourite venues to celebrate Eid Al Fitr

By Angel Tesorero & Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Sun 25 Jun 2017, 9:22 PM

Last updated: Sun 25 Jun 2017, 11:25 PM

dubai/abu dhabi - Shopping for gifts, dining out, catching up on the latest blockbusters, spending quality time and bonding with family and friends took centre stage as residents trooped to various malls in Dubai to celebrate Eid Al Fitr on Sunday.
Malls were adorned with glittering lights, special Eid offers abound, seats and tables at restaurants and food courts were occupied, there were lines at cinema halls, and retail stores and groceries reported brisk sales during the day.
Kathar, 65, a grandmother, was hugging shopping bags full of toys and sweets for her five-year-old grandson. She was waiting at the food court at the Mall of the Emirates for him, who lives in Sharjah, when she spoke with Khaleej Times. She said: "Eid is a special time for kids and I want to surprise my grandson with nice toys. I'm sure he will like these.
"After giving him my presents, we will go to the play area and we will spend the entire day playing. I hope I will be able to keep up with his energy," Kathar added. Visitors from neighbouring Gulf countries also opted to spend Eid in Dubai.
Saudi citizen Mohammed Salam and his family spent Eid for the second year in a row in Dubai. He said that "the celebration here is more vibrant".
"After shopping, we will go to the amusement parks. I heard Dubai Parks and Resorts and IMG Worlds have good rides and entertainment for my children," Salam said.
Seven-year old Praneet, also a Saudi resident, was all smiles at a toy store in The Dubai Mall. He said: "I love coming to Dubai to shop new toys and clothes and also to eat my favourite ice cream."
Non-Muslim families also took advantage of the long holidays.
The Santos family stayed over the weekend in Abu Dhabi to enjoy Ferrari World before they returned to Dubai on Sunday to buy presents for their family when they go back home for a month-long summer vacation to the Philippines next week.
"Even though we are not Muslims, we also celebrate Eid. We respect the religion of our host country and we appreciate the sense of togetherness that Eid brings," the head of the family, Herminio Santos, said.
His wife, Maricar, added: "It's good that we have a long weekend, we're able to spend more time with our kids (Caleb, 7; Jayney, 10 months). We're always busy at work, we don't have a nanny, and this (Eid) is a perfect time for us to relax and enjoy."
Friends also used the time to catch up with each other. Indian expats Rahul, Karan and Trajun, who live in different emirates, said they finally had an opportunity to talk and hear news from each other in person. They also planned to buy new clothes and to look for the latest gadgets.
While shoppers enjoyed the holidays, mall staff had to delay their merry-making. Edwin Arnaiz, a staff at a pizza outlet, said he will start his holiday after his duty and he will probably watch a movie with his friends.
Malls, however, were not the only destination on Sunday. David Loiseau, senior vice-president of sales and marketing at Dubai Parks and Resorts, said: "We welcomed families from across the GCC over the Eid weekend to enjoy everything in our three theme parks and waterpark have to offer. With over 40 indoor rides and attractions and 20 themed water rides, our guests experienced everything from hair-raising rollercoasters to action packed 3D and 4D cinematic simulator rides as well as live shows."
Capital buzz with 'Eid Mubarak'
The Capital was abuzz with activity after declaration of Eid on Saturday evening. Malls and shops were filled with last-minute buyers of gifts and essentials. And believers in their thousands filled mosques early Sunday morning for prayers.
Sheik Alaudeen, an expat, went to Mosque Ali bin Ghanim Bin Hamouda. "I always come here. You can see hundreds of thousands expats from multiple nationalities come here. It is always a special feeling to be here," Alaudeen said.
Eid is all about togetherness and the Thykkavil Puthenveedu family embodied the true spirit perfectly.
Anish Mohammed Ibrahim and wife Fouzy had a houseful of relatives. Fouzy's parents Kamarudeen and Sheeja landed from Kerala. Anish's brother Dileep Khan and family, and relatives Subair Sulaiman, Shabeer and Anisha joined from emirates of Dubai and Sharjah. Dileep's three kids - Adil, Abid and Ahad - added sound to the afternoon feast.
"We had planned this for long time. It was a rush following the announcement on Saturday. I am glad all are here," Anish said.
Dileep added: "We had sleepless night till prayers in Dubai mosque. After the breakfast, it was a travel to be with my big family."
Fouzy said it was blessed time with parents and relatives. "Our non-Muslim friends Sumesh and Sruthi too joined us to make this extra special."

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