Maha Bagsair (left) with her husband, daughters and son-in law. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi/Dubai: Not everyone is travelling to far-flung destinations for Eid Al Adha holidays.

In fact, for many families, just having the time to gather and reflect on another prosperous year is a luxury to be cherished in family homes across the country or in nearby Oman this week as Eid Al Adha officially begins on Tuesday.

‘Time to bridge generational gap, and enjoy a barbecue’

A Sudanese family in the capital prefer prayers and spending time with their grandmother to travelling during Eid holidays.

Maha Bagsair, 55, an HR business partner at a telecom company, told Gulf News that the first day of Eid prayers at mosque are important for her children.

After the prayers, as soon as they are dressed in nice colourful dress, they are off to her mom’s home.

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“We all gather at my mom’s house. On the second day, we always do something special with mom and family. We go out to have late lunch, see a movie then go somewhere for coffee and light snack! Then we might gather in one of our houses for barbecue and a small family Eid party!” Bagsair said.

She said her children always spend time with their parents during the first two days of Eid.

“Then on the third day our children get together with their friends and mothers take kids to play somewhere. We grown-ups visit each other and might get together for dinner,” she said.


A prayer for the hometown and a trip to the mountains

Sahron Roy Tamano with his wife, Noraisa, and daughters Hana Sophia, 14, and Shaikha Shahronisa, 7.

Filipino expatriate Sahron Roy Tamano’s Eid prayers will not only be for blessings and guidance this year, he will also include supplications for the rebuilding of his hometown, Marawi, a city in southern Philippines that was besieged by a terrorist group linked to Daesh last year. The Philippine Armed forces won control of the city in October.

“We continue to pray for our hometown to be rebuilt and restored to its former glory,” the Sharjah-based expat told Gulf News.

“That is foremost in our prayers. After that, we plan to spend time with family at home and share a meal together. We plan to go to Al Ain or Abu Dhabi on the second day. But because it’s hot, we might avoid the outdoors. If the heat is bearable, we might drive up to Jebel Hafeet,” he added.

Tamano said tradition still plays a major role in his family. They continue to observe customs of giving away Eid gifts to kids and spending time with family and extended family during Eid.

“Eid Al Adha is an important celebration for all of us according to our religion. It’s also a time to spend time and reconnect with family members we have not seen in a long time.”


‘In this weather, we plan to hit a beach in Oman’

Going to malls is the last thing in Jonathan Campos’ mind this Eid Al Adha.

He prefers the outdoors but because of the weather, he might have to adjust his plans.

“We usually go to parks or beaches during Eid. But this time, my whole family is travelling to Oman. I cannot go with them so I’ve arranged an out-of-town trip with my church mates and friends on Tuesday,” Campos, 39, the only non-Muslim in the family, told Gulf News.

“We’ll leave Dubai on Monday night so that it won’t be too hot on the way. If it’s not too humid, we’ll put up a tent along the Corniche and have some barbecue. Otherwise, we’ll book a hotel and stay for two nights.”

Campos said they’ll do their grocery shopping in Fujairah itself and not try to bring food on the way to avoid food poisoning due to the summer heat. They’ll also make sure everyone is hydrated during the trip with lots of water and fruit juices. Soft drinks are off limits.

“We’ll go swimming to cool down and relax by the beach. We’ll also play some games and chill out.”


‘Relatives will join us for a feast at home’

Shireen Durrani and her family at their home in Al Quoz. The Pakistani mother of five has lived in the UAE for more than 40 years and considers it her home.

For Shireen Durrani, a Pakistani mother of five, Eid Al Adha will be marked with a big gathering of family and friends at their home in Al Quoz, along with traditional food to be prepared and served to guests.

“We have been living in the UAE for over 40 years and consider the UAE as our home. We have many relatives here in the UAE living in Fujairah, Hatta and Abu Dhabi and like every Eid they will be joining us for a feast at home. As Pattanis, we are very well known for our hospitality. We are extremely excited to welcome our guests,” said Durrani, who is also president of a social ladies forum.

On the first day of Eid, Durrani and her family are expecting more than six families at their home. “We will be slaughtering three goats and sheep. A part of the meat will be used to cook several traditional Pakistani mutton dishes, while the rest will be distributed to family, friends and labourers across the neighbourhood.”

The family’s plans outside the house during the long Eid break include visiting malls and watching any newly-released movies on Eid.

“We do have plans to go out for a barbecue with relatives at Al Qudra lake or Jebel Hafeet, but it all depends on the weather. For the last few years Eid has been falling in the summer, so it’s been difficult to plan activities outdoors.”


Friends, parks and tourist spots beckon

As for Naveed Ahmad, an Indian father of two, since he will be staying in the UAE for the break, he plans to make the most of out of the holiday by visiting tourist spots across the UAE and entertainment parks.

“This year I won’t be able to join my wife and two kids in Karnataka to celebrate Eid with them, so I will have to spend it with my friends here. Since we have a long break, we are planning to go for a road trip to the Northern Emirates. We have plans to visit Iceland water park in Ras Al Khaimah to relax and cool off,” said Ahmad, who works in retail.

Ahmad said on the first day of Eid, him and his friends will first get dressed in their Eid clothing and then head to the Eid prayer.

“On Eid we like to wear lungi and kurta, which is the traditional Indian clothing. After the morning prayer, we will be preparing nice dishes, such as mutton biryani.”

Apart from his plans to also visit beaches in Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah and Jebel Hafeet in Al Ain, Ahmad said he will also spend some time in malls and visiting relatives to greet them on the occasion.