A family poses for a selfie after Eid prayers
File photo of a family posing for a selfie. Eid rituals and traditions will need to be adapted this year to ensure people are adhering to the public health and safety guidelines issued by UAE authorities amid COVID-19. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

Dubai: “Eid this year will be different from all other years.”

These were the words of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai as he sent out Eid greetings through his official Twitter account.

But what exactly should you be doing during Eid and how will Eid traditions be different? Also, what can you do to retain the spirit of Eid without compromising on public health and safety? Here is all you need to know.

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Eid prayers – pray at home

Eid prayers at home
File photo of Eid prayers being offered at Al Noor Mosque in Sharjah. Picture used for illustrative purposes only.

According to the Emirates Fatwa Council, Eid Al Fitr prayers should be performed at home.

As Gulf News reported earlier, Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al Shamsi, spokesperson of the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments, said: “Taking all precautionary measures to protect yourself and your family is a religious and national commitment.”

Taking all precautionary measures to protect yourself and your family is a religious and national commitment

- Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al Shamsi, spokesperson of the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments
Eid Al Fitr prayer timings across the UAE
Abu Dhabi: 05.52am
Al Ain: 05.46am
Dubai: 05.47am
Sharjah: 05.44am
Ras Al Khaimah: 05.43am
Fujairah: 05.43am
Umm Al Quwain: 05.44am
Ajman: 05.46am

Read our detailed guide on how you can perform Eid prayers at home here

Eid gatherings – no big gatherings allowed

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File photograph of a family in Dubai enjoying Eid breakfast. Big gatherings have been disallowed this year, as part of the UAE's restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19. Picture used for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Gulf News archives

While people most look forward to meeting family and friends for Eid, this year UAE authorities have urged people to stay away from big gatherings, with fines announced on hosting and attending Eid gatherings. You are only allowed to celebrate Eid with members living in the same household and avoid meeting family and friends, especially the elderly and those suffering from chronic diseases.

During his Ramadan majlis on May 21, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, urged citizens and residents to use technology to share Eid greetings and connect with relatives and friends, to not undo all the achievements made by the country in the past few months.

On May 18, UAE’s authorities had announced a new set of fines for violations during the disinfection drive. These included a fine of Dh10,000 for hosting a party or gathering for the host and Dh5,000 fine for attendees.

Dh10,000

fine for hosting a big gathering during COVID-19 restrictions

Also, if more than three people are found travelling in a car, or not wearing face masks, they will be fined Dh3,000.

However, there are ways in which you can spend time and reconnect with family and friends through various video conferencing apps that have been made available. This is a list of all the video call apps available in the UAE.

Dh5,000

fine for attending a big gathering during COVID-19 restrictions

Eid greetings – send a virtual hug

Eid meal
Picture used for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Stock image

Don’t greet one another by kissing, hugging or shaking hands. Rely on virtual greetings to spread the cheer.

No catering – make sure you eat healthy

Dubai Health Authority also asked individuals to not book catering services as big gatherings have been prohibited during Eid, to ensure public health and safety. Even when enjoying your Eid meal at home, the DHA advised people to avoid lavish meals and stick to smaller potions to prevent bloating and hyperglycemia – high blood sugar. After a month of fasting, it is best to gradually ease into a regular eating pattern and not shock your system by overindulging in sweets and fried foods.

Going outside? Time your trips and stay safe

The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) issued the following guidelines for people going outside during Eid:

• Avoid crowded places and keep physical distance - at least two metres - from others.

• Shopping trips should not be longer than two hours.

• Clean your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitiser with at least 60 per cent alcohol.

• Wear masks and gloves in shopping centres.

Avoid visiting the elderly or those in the vulnerable group

Coronavirus: Caring for the elderly
Picture used for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Screengrab/Gulf News archives

MOHAP also advised people individuals against visiting the elderly, pregnant women, children and those with chronic diseases and everyone who is susceptible to infection, for their and everyone else’s safety.

Don’t forget to exercise

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Picture used for illustrative purposes only.

Exercises such as walking, running and cycling should be performed near the house for a maximum of two hours, with no more than three people together, taking into consideration all safety precautions such as keeping physical distance such as keeping physical distance and wearing masks.

Make sure you are indoors before the new restriction timings – 8pm each night to 6am the next morning.

Do not go outside if you are in the vulnerable group

The elderly, pregnant women and those with chronic diseases were advised to stay home as much as possible, by MOHAP.

Personal grooming – prioritise hygiene

Salon
A hairdresser checks a colleague's temperature as they resume work at a salon in Dubai Marina. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai Health Authority provided the following guidelines for visiting hair and beauty salons:

- Follow all the necessary precautions when visiting the salon.

- Home salon services have not been permitted and individuals should not ask beauticians to come home for henna, hair care and skincare services.

- Do not go for a salon appointment if you have a fever or any respiratory symptoms.

- Maintain social distance at the salon.

- If you notice the staff has any symptoms, refuse the service and inform the manager.

- Avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes and keep your hands clean.

- Make sure that the staff uses single use tools as much as possible, and where it is not possible, that the tools are disinfected after each use.

Eidiya – online options in the UAE

Presents
UAE residents were urged to not distribute Eidiya among children during the Eid celebration as a precautionary measure against COVID-19. Image Credit: Pexels

Giving a cash gift to children during Eid is a tradition that adults and children all look forward to. However, health authorities in the UAE have advised people to avoid using cash and rely on online and contactless payment options to curb the spread of the virus.

On May 22, the UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) published a list of apps that individuals could use to transfer Eidiya.

Online bank transfer

These apps are available for Apple and Android devices:

• Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB)

• Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB)

• Ajman Bank

• Al Hilal Bank

• Dubai Islamic Bank

• Commercial Bank of Dubai (CBD)

• Citibank UAE

• Emirates Islamic Bank

• Emirates NBD

• First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB)

• Sharjah Islamic Bank

• National Bank of Umm Al Quwain

• National Bank of Fujairah

• Noor Bank

• RAKBank

• HSBC UAE

• Habib Bank Limited

• Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait (ABK)

• Arab Bank

• Mashreq Bank

• National Bank of Kuwait (NBK International)

• Standard Chartered UAE

• United Bank Limited UAE

List of digital wallets by TRA

• Botim

• Liv by ENBD

• Hayyak by ADCB

• Payit Wallet by FAB

• Smartbanking by ADIB

• Mashreq Neo

• NBF Instant

• Ahlan by Al Hilal Bank

• Etisalat eWallet

• Totok Pay

Eid charity – Give Zakat Al Fitr online

The day of Eid also involves a lot of charitable activities, including Zakat Al Fitr, which is a small amount that everyone in the family donates to make sure all members of society can celebrate Eid well. While public prayers will not be held and authorities have urged people against exchanging cash, all chartiable organisations in the UAE have the option to pay Zakat Al Fitr and other forms of charity online, based on the cause that matters most to you.