Firas Arafat Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: With Eid Al Adha around the corner, youngsters in Dubai are preparing to make the most out of their long break, by spending quality time with their families and evenings out with their friends.

With Eid celebrations happening in Dubai malls and tourist destinations, many families have planned fun days out with their extended family and friends.

However, for youngsters enjoying one of the longest public holidays of the year, keeping the balance between family and friends can get somewhat challenging.

Filipina expatriate Amara Ragos agrees that the younger generation’s methods of celebrating have evolved in some way, but not entirely. “The essence of the culture and the ways of observing the traditions are still alive. Eid Al Adha is an important and huge celebration for Muslims, because it is done in remembrance of Allah’s mercy and also as a way to celebrate the completion of Haj. It is one of the few celebrations that is marked by Muslims worldwide, which is why it has great significance for the Muslim community,” the college freshman told Gulf News.

Ragos and her family in Ras Al Khaimah said they make sure to perform the morning Eid prayer and celebrate with family and close friends afterwards.

“Since we celebrate it at our Islamic centre where a lot of people are present, we prepare a programme for everyone, both kids and adults. We play games and give gifts so that everyone could capture and feel the real essence of Eid Al Adha.”

For Aliya Ramzan Al Blooshi from Pakistan, the Eid Al Adha holiday is a time for reflection, but they also squeeze in some recreation during the holiday. “As part of our tradition, we fast on Arafat Day and offer animal sacrifice on the first day of Eid. It can be a cow, a sheep or a goat. We pray in the mornings before that and then distribute the meat afterward,” Al Blooshi, 23, told Gulf News.

“Mashallah, ours is a big family. There are more than 50 family members here in Dubai. There are more coming from Oman and Bahrain this week.”

Al Blooshi said that for everyone celebrating, their family is the priority on the first day. But she is spending the second day of Eid with friends to chill out.

“Since it’s a day off from work, we just gather together and relax. We either just go to the mall and watch movies or have dinner together.”

Now that she is a grown-up, the tables have turned when it comes to Eid gifts. It’s now her turn to give gifts to her young nieces and nephews, she says.

For Yemeni Layan Samir, 22, a legal intern, time off during Eid means catching up with friends, spending quality time with her siblings and taking some time to unwind.

“I try to plan my whole break a head of time, so that I spend the few days before Eid focusing on prayers and fasting, along with some me time. As my parents live abroad, I spend the first two days of Eid with my siblings in Dubai,” said Samir. The long Eid week will also gives her the time to indulge in hobbies such as baking and working out. “I will definitely take a day out to go to the beach with my sister this Eid, as well as plan a few game nights at my brothers’ and spoil my nephew with gifts and delicious treats,” said Samir.

For Firas Arafat, a Jordanian university student, Eid is all about spending more quality time with close family members and friends and giving back to the community. “Typically, we would begin the day with the Eid prayers, followed by lunch. My mother and I would then visit my aunt and her children to greet them and spend a day at their home. It’s only on the second day of Eid that I would meet friends,” the 22-year- Arafat said. “Most importantly, Eid is about generosity and giving to the less fortunate. Usually, we slaughter a goat and make sure the meat is distributed.”

Back home in Jordan, Eid would be even more family-oriented. “Well-wishers would be coming in and out of the house throughout the day and you would see special Eid maamoul being sold everywhere.”

Mahmoud Majd, an Iraqi college student, said this holiday would be very lively and busy, as his relatives will be coming over to Dubai to celebrate Eid. “We have scheduled many plans and activities for our relatives. We also plan to take them around the country, since it will be their first time here,” he said.

Although they plan to go out for lunch on the first day of Eid , his mother usually cooks traditional Iraqi dishes on the second and third days. “For me, Eid is about family togetherness. We don’t get to see each other very often, so it’s a chance to come together. Since we have a long weekend coming up, I will also be seeing my friends. We plan to spend it in a resort in one of the emirates,” he added.