UAE: Families say this is the best Eid Al Adha they had in two years

Residents seen out and about on streets, as malls and restaurants bustle with visitors


Nandini Sircar

Published: Sat 9 Jul 2022, 11:45 PM

Last updated: Sun 10 Jul 2022, 10:55 PM

It’s reunion time for most families in the UAE this Eid Al Adha, especially with the threat posed by the pandemic receding.

Citizens and residents are calling it a ‘close-to-normal Eid’ after a couple of years of subdued festivities due to Covid-19, even though it’s premature to declare it as ‘game over’ for the pandemic.

As the vibrant festivities began on Saturday, people were seen out and about on the streets, as malls and restaurants bustled with visitors and diners, while hotels recorded near-100 per cent occupancy this season.

Explaining the local traditions, UAE National Malak Tariq Alfarsi, said: “We just got back from Turkey yesterday after my daughter participated in a competition there. We usually don’t travel during Eid as we traditionally love spending it with our extended family here in the country. But we are upbeat about the celebrations despite the exhaustion. First, I will go and visit my in-laws and then it’ll be followed by a visit to our parental home and a big feast of lamb dishes and sweets. Like every year, we fasted on Arafat day which is a very important day in the year, and then did a ‘Qurbani’ or an sacrificial offering. That meat is distributed to underprivileged people in places like Africa or India.

“It’s customary for us and it’s a tradition that we’ve maintained for years. Once these offerings are done through known agents as part of charity, which also includes grocery items like oil, rice, lentils and other essentials, and the timings are known to us, only then do the heads of the family - the fathers or husbands - go for a haircut or a shave. The ‘intent’ is very important. Apart from this, children wear new clothes and wait for ‘Eidi’, or gifts that are given to them by the family and older relatives as part of the celebration every year. ”

KT photo/Neeraj Murali
KT photo/Neeraj Murali

Similarly, Eid day started on a high note for the Rizwan family, as after a gap of nearly three years Dubai resident Mohammed Rizwan reunited with his two brothers, Salman and Asad, who flew down from Saudi Arabia and India respectively.

“After a couple of years’ restrictions and lockdowns, this Eid was special as we all decided to get together in Dubai. My brothers flew from India and Riyadh to mark Eid with me and my family here in Dubai. After observing the day of Arafat with a fast (Friday), we were all looking forward to the Eid delicacies,” Rizwan said.

The day began with Eid prayers at 5.50am at the local mosque, after which they all came back home and had a hearty breakfast together. Rizwan added: “While all preparations were done the night before by my wife Shaista, the morning was very busy as she had to process the meat, distribute it among the needy as well as cook for the whole family. Apart from the meat delicacies, my wife also prepared different types of ‘sewaiyaa’ as Eid doesn’t feel like Eid without this traditional sweet dish. This Eid truly was beautiful as I got to spend some quality time with my brothers and their families.”

Things were not as hunky dory, however, for Pakistani resident Muhammad Adil and his family. Adil, who had planned for a grand celebration, woke up to a disappointment.

“We had made huge plans to celebrate this year. Lunch, dinner and outings… everything was in place. But today itself my daughter tested Covid positive. My mother had also come from Pakistan to celebrate Eid with us, and we were supposed to meet our relatives. But then my daughter’s Covid test results came in and I finally had to bring her to the doctor as she is quite symptomatic, though she should recover in a few days.”

Dubai flush with tourists for Eid

Meanwhile, travel agents in the country are reiterating that despite the surging temperatures in the UAE, many people have especially chosen to travel to Dubai for Eid Al Adha after the lifting of the Covid restrictions.

Lakshmi Anand, Business Development Manager at Mapshore Travels and Tours, Dubai, said: “Dubai continues to be a popular destination and the bookings increased by almost 65 per cent around Eid. Airfares to Dubai have increased and demand has been high for quite some time, as a lot of people want to spend Eid here. We’ve been finding it difficult to obtain hotel rooms for guests who want to book now, as most hotels are full due to the global tourism recovery. The strong hotel performance is surpassing many pre-pandemic metrics. We see a lot of inbound travellers from India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.”

Reena Philip, General Manager, Air Travels Enterprise, said: “Air travel has definitely increased in the past few months. Visa processing has also increased by over 50 per cent since March to now in July. We have seen a large volume of inbound passengers from the Indian subcontinent. Hotel occupancy rates are undoubtedly extremely high as even UAE residents still wary of travelling outside have booked staycations, especially for the Eid weekend.”


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