Dubai, Abu Dhabi: Residents yesterday gathered at Grand Musallahs and other mosques across the country for special Eid prayers at 6.15am in Dubai and at 6.11am in Abu Dhabi.
The special prayers marked the beginning of the three-day festive celebrations after 30 days of fasting during Ramadan.
The traffic build-up was noticeable along roads leading to mosques before 6am as people came early for the special Eid prayers.
“We woke up early and the first thing that we did was to pray at the mosque,” Abdul Naeem, 42, a safety professional, told Gulf News. “This day is really special for us, We are very happy after one whole month of fasting and praying,” he added.
Ramadan provided a moment of reflection for Nelson Abdul Nasser, 40, a Filipino waiter who recently embraced Islam. This, being his first Eid, is extra special, he said.
“After Ramadan, I realised that I have won over so many personal battles that used to lead me to sin. Alhamdullilah! This Eid, I can say that I am now at peace with myself; my life has been renewed,” he said.
Hundreds of police patrols were deployed across the country to secure the city streets during Eid. In Dubai, Dubai Metro operations have been extended to accommodate the rush of commuters.
Many residents gathered at beaches with barbeques and swimming among the most favoured relaxation options. Others gathered at parks but malls remained a safe haven and a favourite for those wanting to celebrate Eid indoors away from the hot sun. Special Eid greetings were displayed at virtually every shop and street corner.
Residents also took advantage of the long weekend and drove to other parts of the country as part of their celebrations. Meraj Ahmad, 42, a landscape engineer, said that since his family is in India, he’ll celebrate Eid with his colleagues and friends instead. “We are now heading to Ras Al Khaimah to see the mountains and beaches,” he said.
Palestinian expatriate Marah Saifi, 26, was looking forward to the “us time” with her husband. “Me and my husband are spending Eid at Yas Island. We have always spent it with family, as is tradition, but we decided to get away this year because of the heat, Ramadan was really tough this year.”
Eid greetings flooded communication networks be it in the form of text messages, emails or and instant messages. On social media sites too, Eid greetings were dominantly shared and displayed. On Twitter, the hashtags #Eid Mubarak and #YouKnowItsEidWhen remained the top two trending topics in the UAE.