UAE residents celebrate Eid Al Fitr with special prayers, family reunions, festive spirit

After the morning prayers and the exchange of Eid greetings, the streets, malls, and markets of the Emirates were bustling with excited residents

by

Nandini Sircar

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KT Photo: Neeraj Murali
KT Photo: Neeraj Murali

Published: Wed 10 Apr 2024, 8:37 PM

Last updated: Wed 10 Apr 2024, 9:28 PM

Shortly after sunrise on Wednesday, thousands of Muslims across the UAE performed special prayers on the first day of Eid Al Fitr in mosques and Eid musallahs.

After the morning prayers and the exchange of Eid greetings, the streets, malls, and markets of the Emirates were bustling with excitement. Restaurants and eateries, which were mostly closed early in the mornings during Ramadan, were now welcoming guests for a hearty breakfast on the first day of Eid.


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For Dubai resident Zain Alsayed, Eid is all about big family gatherings. After offering the morning prayers at the mosque, my family and I have been visiting friends and primarily spending time with our extended family," he said.


Zain Alsayed. Photo: Supplied
Zain Alsayed. Photo: Supplied

"Eid presents a wonderful chance to come together and celebrate collectively. Around 20 of my relatives gathered at my father's uncle's residence in Sharjah. People have travelled from Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, and like us, many have travelled from Dubai. It's truly heartwarming to reunite in one location and commemorate these joyous occasions together.”

Zain explained sharing food during festivals holds a special significance in their culture as in many others around the world.

Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied

"A few of my aunts have prepared unique dishes, particularly some interesting desserts that are traditionally made only during the festival season. Additionally, we have arranged for some food to be catered for lunch. Our menu features Biriyani, with barbecue being the highlight. Following lunch, we plan to visit and catch up with friends," added the Syrian-Canadian expat.

Guests arrive from other countries

Indian expat Zoya Shaikh’s family is visiting them from the UK and India. They travelled especially during Ramadan to spend time with family here.

“My sister-in-law came with her children from the UK and my mother-in-law came from India. We spent a blessed time this Ramadan with the family in prayer together and today (Wednesday) we are all going out for lunch at Al Wasl in Nihaal Handi. Restaurants have special Eid menus but after a month of fasting, frankly, I want to go easy on the food,” said Zoya.

“Eid is also a special time for children as they look forward to Eidiya and this year is different because my children have their cousins over. So, it’s quite a houseful. After the morning prayers, the children were ready for their Eidiya. The kids have all worn new clothes today (Wednesday. We did Eid shopping a week ago, some in-store and a few online, as lots of deals were on offer. Later in the day, we might catch the Eid fireworks somewhere,” added the Abu Dhabi resident.

Reliving traditions

Sudanese expatriate Abdelrahim Alsaigh woke up early for the Eid prayer, joining his father and sisters. “Giving out Eidiya to the kids is always the best part. As a 23-year-old I love to be the adult that spreads joy among children,” Alsaigh said.

Abdelrahim Alsaigh. Photo: Supplied
Abdelrahim Alsaigh. Photo: Supplied

The Alsaigh household is always filled with sweets and Sudanese incense on this day. “Eid holds a special significance for me because it's the time when I have the opportunity to reunite with all my family and friends in a single day. We typically gather for a lunch as a family.

"We always have Manakesh on this day, as a household tradition. Post lunch, I catch up with my friends — all of us adorned in our finest attire for the occasion, and we go to the malls as it’s beautifully lit up.”

Prizes and offers

Hotels across the country are enjoying remarkable occupancy rates during this festive season. Many individuals are taking advantage of deals and retail offers, while also embarking on culinary adventures to fully immerse themselves in the festive spirit. Additionally, residents eagerly anticipate the spectacular fireworks displays that are a hallmark of the vibrant festivities in the nation.

Meanwhile, Dubai's Eidiya Digital Raffle offers shoppers the chance to win big prizes by spending Dh200 at participating malls. Each coupon qualifies for a draw, with prizes totalling Dh200,000. Over Eid, 22 winners will be chosen, with prizes ranging from Dh5,000 to Dh15,000. Eighteen malls are participating, including Arabian Centre, Dubai Outlet Mall, and Lulu Hypermarket Silicon Oasis.

Meeting neighbours

Dubai resident Bhavya Rao is making the most of the day spending time with her husband and her two children. She also highlighted the compelling offers across the city that have turned her into an avid shopper this festive season.

“I am generally quite careful about my purchases. But on Tuesday when I went to a supermarket, I saw that special poultry items being sold at half the price. I frankly had no plans of preparing Biriyani. But the deals were so tempting that I ultimately bought quite a few items, even things that I didn’t want and I have nearly spent half the morning preparing a special Chicken Biriyani for the festive occasion,” said Bhavya.

Bhavya Rao and family. Photo: Supplied
Bhavya Rao and family. Photo: Supplied

Bhavya added that Eid in the UAE is a time for families to unite irrespective of race and religion. “My Egyptian neighbour came and gave us some Middle Eastern dessert. In the early evening, I’ll take my kids to one of the play areas in the neighbourhood as they have some interesting activities, especially for the children. I am looking forward to catching one of the Eid Al Fitr firework displays in the late evening,” she added

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