Dubai: If it’s Eid time, it’s fun time.
While those with family often prefer to travel to other emirates, visit wadis and unwind in the region’s luxurious hotels and resorts, others prefer to go abroad or return to their home countries for family time.
Iranian Nariman Mohammadian, who is studying in Dubai, is keen on visiting his loved ones back home.
He said: “I have missed my family and friends in Iran, so I’ll be there to enjoy their company this Eid. In Iran, there is no special celebration in public; this day is a highly personal event. The specialty of this day is taking part in prayers in every mosque or in public places. Although it is a public holiday, tourist sites are not closed and the transportation and public services continue to operate regularly. Eid Al Fitr is most cherished in Iran. People take part in mass prayers held in mosques and the downtown area will be crowded in the morning.”
Eid is a cherished occasion for Iranians.
Mohammadian said: “Usually, Iranians shop for new clothes and go to pray in the mosque with their family. We buy the best sweets, fresh fruits and delicious food, as after going to the mosque, we go to each other’s house for family visits. Also, we visit martyrs’ graves and read the Quran. We also give money to the needy.”
Elsewhere, it is a day during which departed loved ones are missed.
While Eid Al Fitr is usually a day of festivity and cheer in the Khan household, Kamal Shah expects it to be a quiet affair for his family this year.
The Sharjah-based customer service manager said it would be his first Eid since the death of his father, who passed away in March.
Khan said: “Last year, we spent Eid with him back home in Pakistan.”
While his father’s presence will be irreplaceable, Khan hopes to make the occasion a memorable one for his two children, who are aged three years and three months old respectively. He said: “We will be meeting our friends and extended family living in the UAE, and of course will take our children to parks so they can enjoy all the swings, slides and rides. I am also looking forward to enjoying the long weekend.”
While others would rather spend quality with their family, Michelle Cantillana, a Filipina, is off to Istanbul, Turkey, this Eid.
She said: “When I found out that Eid Al Fitr will fall on a Sunday, I decided to go to Istanbul. I am a voyager and have been wanting to visit Istanbul for three years now. However, I always end up going to other places or go for scuba diving instead.”
Cantillana is very passionate about scuba diving, traveling and photography. Her main goal every time she travels is to take pictures of the landscapes.
She said: “I heard there are lots of sights where I can take a snap in Istanbul, such as the Bosphorus Bridge, Blue Mosque, Hagia Sofia, and Topkapi Palace. Then I would go shopping in Grand Bazaar, the most famous souq in the world.”
She is also keen on learning the country’s history, culture and way of life. She said, “I have been told by a Turk friend to take some time and go to local places to observe (and try to live) their way of life, aside from taking pictures. Hence, I will go to the famous local restaurants and savour their sumptuous food, sit in a café and drink Turkish coffee and then have a Turkish bath! Istanbul is known for its night life, so after taking a night shot of the bridge that connects Europe and Asia, I am planning to enjoy the party scene in the city.”
Cantillana usually goes with her travel buddies from Singapore, but sometimes she travels alone. She said: “When travelling alone, I have my solitude and I am more flexible with my schedule, which is helpful for my photography. I have travelled alone twice before this trip, but I didn’t really venture outside my comfort zone. This time, I will brave the streets of Istanbul and will not miss out on anything - from sights to food to shopping to party to riding a tram/taxi/train to taking a bath in Hammam.”
With inputs from Sanya Nayeem/Deputy Readers Editor