Aina and Aima Sebastian from India during the Twins Plus Festival 2013 at Zabeel Park. Image Credit: Francois Nel/Gulf News

Dubai: Casual visitors to Zabeel Park weren’t seeing double on Friday. What they were witness to was a special gathering of hundreds of twins and triplets for the second annual Twins Plus Festival.

The event was organised by Twins Plus in Dubai, a support group initiated in 2003 to support mothers of twins and triplets and quadruplets living in Dubai.

“According to Dubai Health Authority, around 2,875 sets of twins, triplets and quadruplets where born in Dubai from 2010 to 2012,” said Suman Manning, who runs the support group Twins Plus and is the organiser of the event.

“Being a mother of triplets myself, I know the support that a mother of twins needs so we decided to organise the event to get twins and mothers to meet and support each other through sharing advice or by simply knowing that they are not alone,” Manning said.

Gulf News interviewed some of the twins and triplets along with their families to learn more about their lives and why they decided to attend the event.

Identical twins Sharjeel and Raheel, 29, from Pakistan told Gulf News that they attended the festival hoping they might meet identical twin sisters who through some stroke of luck could turn out to be soulmates.

“We are inseparable to the point that we share one phone, one car and work at the same company in the same job position. We also have the same taste and so purchase everything in twos and so we also hope to marry identical twins as well. If we fail to find identical twins then we hope to at least marry sisters who look a bit alike.”

Nisreen Atmih is the mother of nine-month-old non-identical twins Fareed and Fares but her children are so different that they won the most non-identical twins contest. “The two are very different; one is dark-skinned with black eyes and black hair while the other is blonde with blue eyes. Even their personalities are different — one is calm and likes to walk and sit while the other is naughty and likes to play with toys.”

Games and competitions such as the most similar twins, the least similar twins and even one for the biggest pregnant belly were held through the day. There was also an expert corner where foetal maternity specialists, midwifes and nutritionists gave advice to the parents of twins and triplets.

Last year, the one-of-a-kind event in the region was attended by 450 set of twins, 36 triplets and 3,500 visitors and Manning told Gulf News that she was hoping to exceed those numbers.

— Noor Nazzal is a trainee at Gulf News